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Biological Annihilation: A Planet in Loss Mode

Biological Annihilation: A Planet in Loss Mode

Subhankar Banerjee

If you’ve been paying attention to what’s happening to the nonhuman life forms with which we share this planet, you’ve likely heard the term “the Sixth Extinction.” If not, look it up. After all, a superb environmental reporter, Elizabeth Kolbert, has already gotten a Pulitzer Prize for writing a book with that title.

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The utter devastation I feel when I contemplate the topic of this article pales in comparison to the rage I feel when commenters here express their concern over survival of the human species.

Humans evolved to colonize, dominate and ultimately destroy every conceivable ecosystem. So intelligent, we selfishly outsmarted ourselves. When we’re done here, we’ll mess up other planets. I truly hope that the Sixth Extinction includes us.


I find a bleak comfort in the idea that this is just another, major turn of evolution’s wheel; just another extinction event. Yeah, there’s mega-death in the future: entire species, genera, orders of organisms; and hundreds of millions of humans (Yemen in the vanguard). But, on the other side, a quiet will follow the Anthropocene. And in that quiet, a new age will unfold. I won’t see it; maybe my daughter will. Maybe some rich fuckers will emerge from their bunkers and try to convince themselves, “Aw, it’s not so bad.”

I do think, in all likelihood, life will go on in some form peacefully oblivious to our history of “ingenuity.” Guess I’m gonna have to be okay with that.


It is politically incorrect to mention human overpopulation as the cause of habitat loss and species extinction. Ecologists know this, but economists think we need more people on the planet.

Ecology in Greek - “the study of the household”.
Economy in Greek - “the running of the household”.

How can economists run the place if they ignore the ecologists that know how it works?


How in Gods name can one respond to this article? The obvious answer to me is: Get rid of humans! Maybe Mother Nature has something in store that will solve this whole awful dilemma?


The alarm bells are ringing and the warning lights are flashing. We are passengers on a out of control locomotive, with no brakes and the firemen fiendishly shoveling on more coal. Our CO2 emissions are the highest ever and the demented and determined resource extraction and development continues apace. There is no way all the pieces can be put back together. Make piece with your brothers and sisters and put your own house in order.

One editing note, in the reference to Roundup, or glyphosate. which is a full spectrum herbicide that kills both broad leaf plants and grasses. Although, not a pesticide that kills insects directly, it is ubiquitous on the landscape and is utilized both for agricultural and yard/garden applications.

Humans are part of cosmic powered biology. We occupy the unique niche of being a specie that goes through evolution from the single cell to Human. Please correct me if I am wrong; there is a point in the womb when we possess gills. And Earth keeps uncountable billions of tons of single celled life in reserve many kilometers below the surface.

Articles like this are not written to explain what cosmic powered biology manifest as human should do. The idea here is to communicate that we should all now go about doing something to assist healing Earth.

It is up to mature humanity to establish the true free market price of every product fit neatly into the web of life. How much lung cancer, heart disease and soot removal should be included in the price of gasoline at the pump? for example.

Here we communicate as trillions of cells in each brain switching in combinations on a fine gradient between 0 & 1. Billions of individual sets of trillions of possible connection patterns have danced together linked to a tune in the communication age via transistors.

Have we inadvertently converted ourselves to artificial intelligence?

If so, How does artificial intelligence see reality and heal it to continue supporting life as we know it?

Can transistor based life already live without flesh and bone cosmic powered biology?

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Where are the cards for these creatures in a Green New Deal?

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HI paularae: sigh---------- getting rid of humans seems to be the plan of America, France , UK, Israel and Saudi Arabia. In past Earth history, the plague seemed to show up quite a few times and do the job of imploding Earth life --ebola might be the one now, or maybe zinka where babies are born with non functioning brains. Although, an asteroid was said to cause the beginning of the last clearing off of Earth life 250 million years ago.

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I know. Sad to contemplate.

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I agree with you. “Mature humanity” however is one major problem. There’s a lot of stupid out there.

Transistor based life? Intriguing concept.

There is humanity that cares and inhumanity that rules via power and money. The latter is determined to ignore the former.

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It is a bleak scenario and part of continuous bad news on the biology/climate front. Such relentless bad news and dread must be countered by equally relentless optimism about an different path for our future. Such optimism, based on nothing other than the symbiotic revolution in biological science and human creativity can be found in the concept of the Symbiocene. In my forthcoming book, ‘Earth Emotions’ (Cornell University Press, May), I write " The book concludes with an examination of what humans must do to enter the Symbiocene . Although a transdisciplinary philosopher by inclination, I have attempted to give “Generation Symbiocene” a relentless, optimistic and practical view of their future. Such extreme optimism is needed to counter the ruthless pessimism that is emerging from the critics of the Anthropocene and the collective wisdom of scientists who keep warning us about the unfolding apocalyptic scenario, due to ecosystem destruction, toxic pollution and climate warming." … I hope this helps. Glenn.