Today we are facing the largest mass extinction since the dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago.
It is in fact normal for plant and animal species to go extinct. Under normal conditions this occurs at a rate of about 5 species per year. However, scientists are estimating that currently we are losing species at a rate of 1000-10,000 times faster. Literally dozens of species are going extinct every single day. It is predicted that 30-50% of all species could be gone forever by 2050.
The most alarming thing is that the more species that go extinct, the more other species that rely on those ones for food will follow suit. At the moment about one quarter of all species are endangered, and this number is only going to get higher.
So what is the cause of this disastrous situation? Well, to put it bluntly, it’s us. Clear-cutting the rainforest to make room for cattle farms, pumping garbage and polluted water into the sea, filling the atmosphere with CO2 from our cars and factories; these activities are all being done at the expense ofour natural environment.
While a small number of people, including many politicians, continue to deny global warming and all the changes it is causing, the evidence clearly indicates that we are getting dangerously close to, or have already reached, the point of no return.
1. crisis (n) a time of intense danger or difficulty 危機
Mr. Carter seems to be going through a mid-life crisis.
2. literally (adv) to indicate/emphasize you mean something exactly/truly 照字面上來說
There were literally more than 100,000 people in the stadium.
3. endangered (adj) in danger of going extinct 絕種，絕跡
The giant panda is an endangered species.
4. clear-cut (v) to cut down all the trees in an entire area 清除，清空，剷除
Clear-cutting the Amazon rainforest is going to negatively impact all of humankind.
5. cattle (n) cows 牛隻
The forest was cut down to make more room for a cattle farm. 森林被砍伐是為了要興建一座牛隻牧場。
Phrases and Sentence Patterns句型解析
1. The (most) adj thing is that… (sentence pattern) 也就是
The funny thing is that Mark forgot to button up his shirt before he gave the speech.
2. follow suit (phr) to do something in the same way or pattern 步入後塵；起而效尤
If a manager works hard, his employees will surely follow suit.
3. to put it bluntly/simply (phr) to indicate what follows is being said in a direct/simple way 簡而言之
To put it simply, I can’t live in this house any longer.
4. to do A at the expense of B (sentence pattern) to indicate that doing A will negatively affect B A的代價就是B，犧牲B來進行A
Why do people continue to waste resources at the expense of our planet?
5. point of no return (phr) 不能回頭，無法補救
After signing the contract, we were beyond the point of no return. We would have to finish the job.