BIODIVERSITY AND HUMANITY’S PLACE IN IT
It is estimated that approximately 1.4 million species of organisms have been discovered, yet the total number alive on Earth is unknown. Some experts estimate that there are somewhere between 10 and 100 million species, although no one can say with ________________ (CONFIDE) which of these figures is closer. Fewer than one in ten of all the species that have been given ________________ (SCIENCE) names have been closely studied.
We have to ________________ (BROAD) our goals in studying species because, unlike the rest of science, the study of biodiversity has a time limit. Species are disappearing at an accelerated rate as a consequence of human activities, primarily the ________________ (DESTROY) of natural habitats but also ever-increasing pollution and contamination of pristine environments by introduced species. Twenty per cent or more of the species of plants and animals could vanish or be doomed to early ________________ (EXTINCT) by the year 2020 unless we do something drastic to save them. The loss of many species will mean that new sources of scientific information and incalculable potential ________________ (BIOLOGY) wealth will be destroyed. We should also be aware of the dangers of overlooking the services that ecosystems provide humanity. Human beings coevolved with the rest of life on Earth. It would be ________________ (MAD) to suppose that we can continue to diminish biodiversity ________________ (DEFINE) without threatening our own existence.
One of the reasons why humans have failed ________________ (INTELLECT) to save life on Earth is because we prefer to be ignorant of our common origins with the rest of life. We therefore have a misplaced sense of ________________ (SUPERIOR) over the other species on Earth. But human beings are a part of nature, a species that evolved among other species. The more closely we ________________ (IDENTITY) ourselves with the rest of life, the more quickly we will be able to acquire the ________________ (KNOW) on which to build a new direction for the Earth as a whole.
From: Spotlight on CAE © Francesca Mansfield & Carol Nuttall, Heinle CENGAGE Learning