This article and interview describes how some scientists posit that the Earth is currently in its sixth mass extinction event and includes quotes from scientists and Indigenous fisherman about the unsustainable consumption or alteration of natural resources and habitats.
A solution proposed is to preserve and keep the remaining 30% of wild habitats that have not been taken over by humans, which will require preservation, legislation, monitoring, and funding.
This text quotes expert scientists and presents data to support claims of global threats to wildlife and the sustainability of human populations.
Indigenous perspectives are presented from a first-person viewpoint, in which they discuss their livelihoods and connection to salmon.
The article is a transcript of the video, but the video at the top of the page requires a subscription to view (it should be available for free on YouTube).
This topic may be triggering for some students, especially those who experience anxiety, so teachers should take care to check in on students' thoughts and feelings when discussing this article.
Students should understand what biodiversity is and the importance of biodiversity in sustaining the Earth's systems and life as we know it.
This article provides opportunities for interdisciplinary study amongst science and civics while students learn how governments must work together to legislate and protect species.
Have students research protected land and endangered species in their communities.
To summarize their learning, have students write an essay defining the biodiversity crisis in their own words and propose solutions to protect wildlife.
Students can further research initiatives such as Thirty-by-Thirty and others to understand how habitat preservation and protection canhelp save species, improve human health, and fight climate change.
This resource from 60 Minutes provides the text of a ~13 minute video entitled "Earth currently experiencing a sixth mass extinction, according to scientists." The article discusses the current crisis of mass extinction not seen since the dinosaurs and includes a series of interviews with fishermen on the front lines who are witnessing the changes in wildlife and discussions with scientists that have researched the current state of mass extinction occurring. This article would be a great resource for a classroom discussion on climate change and the effects on wildlife all over the world.
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
HS-ESS3-3 Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.
HS-ESS3-6 Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.
LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
HS-LS2-6 Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
Dimension 2: Civics
D2.Civ.12.9-12 Analyze how people use and challenge local, state, national, and international laws to address a variety of public issues.
Dimension 2: Economics
D2.Eco.1.9-12 Analyze how incentives influence choices that may result in policies with a range of costs and benefits for different groups.
Dimension 2: Geography
D2.Geo.11.9-12 Evaluate how economic globalization and the expanding use of scarce resources contribute to conflict and cooperation within and among countries.
D2.Geo.4.9-12 Analyze relationships and interactions within and between human and physical systems to explain reciprocal influences that occur among them.
Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; trace the text's explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.