Listening to Extinction: Rachmaninoff, science, and a moral call to action

It is impossible to hear the silence of vanished birdsong. We can't see the absence of rainbow fish in bleached coral reefs. The bodies of extinct frogs don't pile up around our knees. So we have to engage our imaginations every way we can, to understand that human activities are driving the Earth into a Sixth Extinction, bringing the Cenozoic Era to a close. Sixty-five million years ago, the violent impact of an asteroid killed perhaps eighty percent of the species then alive, including most dinosaurs and many creatures of the seas. And now, the planet reels from human violence: since 1970, 39 percent of terrestrial wildlife - gone, 39 percent of marine wildlife - gone, 76 percent of freshwater wildlife - gone.

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