"The Sixth Great Extinction Is Underway—and We're to Blame," Time's headline declared. "Earth in the midst of sixth mass extinction," echoed USA Today. The headline-writers at The Mirror adopted an even more apocalyptic tone: "End of the world predicted by scientists who warn Earth's animals are heading for mass extinction." They were all reacting to a study in Science reporting researchers' concerns about "mass defaunation." Nearly identical predictions made in the late 20th century happily proved wrong. Reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey argues that positive trends in urbanization, population, forest regrowth, and agriculure could well forestall the predicted extinctions.
Start your day with Reason. Get a daily brief of the most important stories and trends every weekday morning when you subscribe to Reason Roundup.