Impacts of Anthropogenic Activities on Biodiversity
The earth is experiencing a disastrous extinction of vulnerable species due to the
devastating effects of diseases, invasive species, pollution, population growth, and other human
activities. In his study, Derrick Jensen recognizes that salmons are going extinct in India, while
redwoods species have been reduced to 2%. The author argues that technology and civilization
have contributed significantly to the intoxication of the environment that is eventually killing
many species to the extent of making them extinct. It is from this massive destruction of life that
some scholars are proposing to change the name of this epoch from Anthropocene to obscene.
"Perhaps, if we name this era after the layer of rubble that pile up during the extinction of most
of the plants and animals of the Holocene, the ruined remains of so many of the living beings we
grew up with, buried in human waste, then we are entering the obscene epoch” (Moore).
Controlling anthropogenic activities and their impacts on biodiversity can help minimize
catastrophes such as Iraq war and Katrina hurricane because they are the primary
contributors to the destruction of natural habitats and the extinction of many species on
The Iraq war caused massive destruction of natural habitats and the extinction of various
species due to the frames of fire that emerged from the burning of oil wells and properties worth
billions of dollars. Since the historical times, fires are used as weapons during conflicts. As
Scranton states in his article learning how to die in Anthropocene, “Flames licked the bruised sky
from the tops of refinery towers, cyclopean monuments bulged and leaned against the horizon,
broken overpasses swooped and fell over ruined suburbs, bombed factories, and narrow ancient
streets” (Scranton). The oil fields were also burned leading to one of the greatest fire disasters in
modern times. Its impacts are far-reaching such that some animals are thought to be at risk of
becoming extinct. The toxic combustion of hydrogen sulfide and oil rich in sulfur may have led
to the production of hazardous and volatile organic compounds such formaldehyde, benzene,
sulfur dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide, all which contributes to the degradation of the environment
and exacerbation of the global warming.
Regardless of the hopefulness of human being that the society will one day stop the
emission of greenhouse gasses and prevent the melting of the polar ice caps, it is unthinkable of
how much impacts environmental degradation has already caused. The Iraq wars and oil fires
destroyed the habitats of many animals while killing countless of them. Those that were lucky
have no conducive environment to survive and reproduce since the environmental impacts are
still felt even to date.
The oil spills on the lands during the Iraq war might have caused a substantial impact on
the existence of rodents and reptiles due to the oil residues that coats the land. The oil layers on
the earth surface also affect the water permeability hence no microbial life can exist anymore.
Besides plants survival became at risk as their leaves were likely to be covered by the soot while
their roots can barely absorb water due to the interference of the oil layer. Some of the animal
and plant species that died following the Iraq war can never exist anymore since the only land
that could support their habitats were destroyed. As Jensen confirms, “Iraq was once covered by
thick forest such that the sunlight never touched the ground.” However, the Gilgamesh
deforestation and other anthropogenic activities to create the great city of Iraq turned the land
into a desert that modern and land of war. Some of the obvious impacts were the destruction of
habitats and the elimination of some species that could not survive the changing climate and
environment. Some of those species have become extinct.
Katrina Hurricane is another disaster that can be directly linked to anthropogenic
activities and which devastated the natural habitats of many species along the coastal regions of
New Orleans, Alabama, Mississippi, and Lousiana. The hurricane caused massive erosion and
mixed industrial effluent with the natural freshwater and soil sediments. Besides killing at least
6000 people, Katrina Hurricane is the cause of thousands of animal species and destruction of
millions of natural habitats. The destruction of these diversity brings into play the concept of
Anthropocene; man killing the planet. As Moore puts it, "animals and plants die and die and die.
No one entirely knows who they are; no one knows what will replace them.” Although classified
as a natural disaster, its immense strength and speed can be intertwined with the destruction of
the environment and global warming.
There is no hope of ever replacing the lost species. However, humans can do something
about conservation of the environment to such disastrous events from ever happening in the
future. Such action lies under the hope as an orientation of the spirit calls for mass action in
planting trees and solving disputes amicably to protect the remaining species. People can also
take precaution and start educating their fellow member to avoid actions of civil wars, ecocide,
and genocides that are fueled by sociopath and narcissism cultures. They should exercise their
humanity and their power to control and protect other lives on the planet.
Jensen, Derrick. "Age of the sociopath." Earth Island Journal, Spring 2013, p. 41. Academic
ead51d7e. Accessed 18 Oct. 2018.
Moore, Kathleen Dean. "Anthropocene is the wrong word." Earth Island Journal, Spring 2013,
p. 19+. Academic OneFile,
d5bf1718. Accessed 18 Oct. 2018.
Scranton, Roy. "Learning How to Die in The Anthropocene." Opinionator, 2013,
https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/10/learning-how-to-die-in-theanthropocene/. Accessed 18 Oct 2018.
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