Here an article from the old box, but still up to date, from the hand of Elizabeth Kolbert for The New Yorker. Subtitle: There have been five great die-offs in history. This time, the cataclysm is us.
“The town of El Valle de Antón, in central Panama, sits in the middle of a volcanic crater formed about a million years ago. The crater is almost four miles across, but when the weather is clear you can see the jagged hills that surround the town, like the walls of a ruined tower…
Of the many species that have existed on earth—estimates run as high as fifty billion—more than ninety-nine per cent have disappeared. In the light of this, it is sometimes joked that all of life today amounts to little more than a rounding error.
Once a mass extinction occurs, it takes millions of years for life to recover, and when it does it generally has a new cast of characters…”