Chris Thomas … a professor of conservation biology at the University of York in the UK … does not deny that humans have already caused a “mini mass extinction” — an era of accelerated extinction rates around the globe.
But in his new book Inheritors of the Earth: How Nature Is Thriving in an Age of Extinction, Thomas argues that the usual doom and gloom is only one part of the story. As he sees it, in parallel with all the ecological damage, humans have ignited a great flourishing of life.
Thomas: [T]here are biological losses going on on the planet. It is very rational to fight those losses, particularly when it is the loss of an entire species that may be difficult or impossible to get back in the future and which may have some unknown future value to us. But we are also living in a world in which there are biological gains. It is equally valid to celebrate biological life forms that are doing well in the presence of humans, rather than simply to resent these species and somehow prevent them from becoming the new biological success stories of the human epoch.
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