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Unraveling Earth’s Biodiversity

Unraveling Earth’s Biodiversity

Chapter:
(p.11) One Unraveling Earth’s Biodiversity
Source:
Abundant Earth
Author(s):
Eileen Crist
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226596945.003.0002

“Unraveling Earth’s Biodiversity” discusses the present-day extinction crisis, clarifying the difference between mass and background extinction, narrating the loss of wild animal and plant populations, and conveying the erosion of genetic variation, contractions of historical range, and destruction of ecosystems and biomes. It elaborates on global systemic losses, like the killing of carnivores and big herbivores, the bushmeat crisis in Africa and elsewhere, the destruction of freshwater biodiversity, and disappearing animal migrations. This chapter organizes a large range of knowledge in a comprehensive yet condensed fashion. It lays out the causes of biodiversity destruction, focusing especially on food production and global trade. It introduces a key theme of the book—that there exists a deeper causal layer of humanity’s onslaught: a widely shared worldview of human supremacy that makes human expansionism appear normal and gives humanity permission to continue expanding.

Keywords:   biodiversity, biodiversity crisis, extinction, food production, global trade

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