If we compress the history of our plant earth (4.5 Billion years) in one year, we will find some amazing facts. In the first four months of that year, the earth was very inhospitable, violent and lifeless. The first cell living cell developed somewhere at the ocean shoreline sometime between may-June. In august the plant life evolved. Plants shaped the thin area of the Biosphere where all living species evolved later. Dinosaurs appeared on the scene on December 21 and became extinct by noontime on December 26.
December 31 has been a busy day. Man ancestors appeared 8 pm on December 31. Modern man appeared in Africa around 200,000 years ago that is 11: 36 pm on December 31. Civilization, which dates back to about 30,00 years, started at 11:56 pm. The first human arrived to North America from Asia, at 11:58 pm. The industrial revolution took place one second before midnight. The population reached one billion human beings.
In the last seven tenth of a second before midnight, human beings have been very busy indeed. They have increased their population to more than 6 billion, at the stroke of midnight. They have spread to every corner of the globe. They have become the dominant species on earth. They have �conquered nature�. Built Mega cities with skyscrapers. Invented cars, planes, telephones, movies TV guns, nuclear weapons and computers. Before humans came on the scene two and half million years ago nature was supreme. Now they have changed nature including weather. Their activities resulted in acid rain, global warming, ozone thinning, accumulation of huge amount of man-made waste that will be there for centuries. They polluted the air, water, oceans and large tracts of soil.
Other living species (plants, animals, birds, fishes & insects), survived or disappeared due to natural selection and natural disasters. The extinction rate of other living species before human beings became so powerful, was about 10-100 species per year. In the last 150 years, human activity has increased extinction rate by more than 1000 times.
Scientists conservatively estimate at the present, that number of species, which become extinct each year, is 27,000 or 3 species each hour. Twenty to thirty percent of bird species worldwide have been wiped out, leaving us with 9,040 species alive today. About 20 percent of the world�s fish species have become either extinct or in a state of dangerous decline.
By the end of the twentieth century the tropical rain forests of the world, had been reduced to about 7.5 million square kilometers, or roughly about 45% of its original size. Rain forests are disappearing at the rate of 142,000 square kilometers a year. The loss is equal to the area of a football field every second. Humans are destroying fast, the habitat of almost every species on earth including their own, if we continue on this course.
April 22 was the Earth day. A good time to reflect on what we did and contemplate how to save the Earth. After all, this is the only planet we have.
Is Dr. S.Hassanien?
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