The Coronavirus demonstrated how unprepared our world is to confront our high-risk threats and how little we invest politically and economically in avoiding them. Beyond COVID-19, this also applies to the threats of nuclear weapons and climate change. The degree of disruption of our lives, societies, and economies of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is greater than 9/11 and the recent financial crisis. You'd be forgiven for thinking humans may be on their way out! Whether you want to learn more just out of curiosity or want to read facts that back up what you already believe, an extinction book is a great read. The question is...which one?
#1 Equilibra. Many readers describe Equilibra as "the best extinction book" and "the last extinction book you'll ever need to read." Who are we? Where have we come from? Where are we? These questions are just the beginning of what is explored throughout the pages of this book. Mother Earth is communicating to us the current, imminent, and potential "desequilibra" that threaten the ecosystems and the synergies between them that support life on Planet Earth. She is giving us an ultimatum. Author Dr. Paul Oquist says it It is imperative that we transform ourselves now or decline and perish as a result of the consequences of our own actions, a species suicide. And it isn't just us! We can produce our own extinction and that of other species through weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear, and/or environmental degradation, especially climate change. Will we listen in time?
#2 The Sixth Extinction. Over the last half-billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically changed. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the soon-to-happen sixth extinction. It is predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the species headed for extinction is humans! Author Elizabeth Kolbert tells readers why and how human beings have altered life on the planet in a way no species has before. This upcoming sixth extinction is shaping up to be our legacy, and Kolbert implores us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be a human being.
#3 The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk. For hundreds of thousands of years, Great Auks thrived in the icy seas of the North Atlantic Ocean. By the year 1844, not a single one of these birds was left alive. What happened? Award-winning author and illustrator Jan Thornhill tells the tragic story of these birds that looked very similar to penguins. While a little clumsy and slow on land, the birds managed to escape their predators much of the time- until humans became seafarers. The Great Auks were pursued first by Vikings, then by Inuit, Beothuk, and finally European hunters. Their numbers rapidly dwindled down to zero. The final demise of these birds led to the birth of the conservation movement. Laws were passed to prevent the killing of birds during the nesting season, and later on similar laws were extended to other species.
There's many more popular human extinction books beyond these listed. Why limit yourself to just one? Read as many as you'd like!