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Gone: Mass Extinction and the Hazards of Earth's Vanishing

By the end of the century, half of all species on Earth may be extinct due to global warming and other causes. Who will survive the world's dwindling biodiversity, and why?

Source:  Copyright 2009, Mother Jones
Date:  April 24, 2009
Byline:  Julia Whitty
Original URL: Status ONLINE

WE AWAKE IN OUR TENTS in the moonlight to what sounds like a dance troupe in wooden clogs practicing on rock under stunted juniper trees. It's a half-dozen Carmen mountain white-tailed deer, scraping at the ground with bootlike hooves, bending gracile necks to chew on wet soil and lick it dry. They're harvesting the minerals and moisture from our urine soaked into the parched earth of the high desert, the herd toiling through the night and into the morning in a pursuit tenacious enough to enlighten us to the wastefulness of our own bodies. Clearly, the three of us have squandered most of what we drank hiking to 7,400 feet on the south rim of Texas' Chisos Mountains. From the deer's point of view, our arrival here is the next best thing to rain.

Come morning, we pack camp and loiter on the precipice, staring across wracked ranges and sunburnt country to the Rio Grande thousands of feet below, and to the even higher country of Mexico's Sierra Madre. Here, in Big Bend ...

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