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9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Biology, English Language Arts, Social-Emotional Learning

Resource Type

  • Article

Regional Focus


UN Report: Humans Accelerating Extinction of Other Species

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  • This article details how humankind is reducing biodiversity by destroying habitats globally and accelerating the extinction of species around the world.
  • Students will learn about the causes and effects of biodiversity loss, potential fixes for some of the problems that have been caused by human actions, and the urgency of this issue.
Teaching Tips


  • This article provides an excellent overview of human impacts on biodiversity. 
  • The article is structured well for reading comprehension, even for struggling readers.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should have prior knowledge of biodiversity, ecosystems, and how humans impact the environment. 


  • Cross-curricular connections can be made in social studies classes studying how specific countries or regions have been impacted by biodiversity loss or when discussing the future impacts of ecosystem crashes and species extinctions on human communities that depend on them. 
  • Before reading, have students discuss with a partner what they know about decreasing biodiversity and make a list of possible effects to reference after the reading.
  • This article would make a great introduction to this topic for language arts classes. Consider having students choose a specific vulnerable ecosystem or species to research and write about.
  • This article makes the clear connections between human activities, species declines, and climate change. Have science students explore the other linked resources about mass extinctions to incorporate graphs and maps to the topic.
Scientist Notes
This is a comprehensive "state of biodiversity" report from the The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, and this report aggregates data from the IUCN, WWF, and other relevant institutions. It shows how humans have denuded nature and biodiversity and it calls for urgent action to reverse this impact and protect natural ecosystems and species from extinction. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account.
      • 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.
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