The frustrating and infuriating aspect of this is that I recall reading The Sixth Extinction ( by Richard Leakey) in the mid 90s that demonstrated--25 years ago--that scientists already had strong evidence of this happening. That's 25 years ( and who knows how many species) lost because people don't want to change.
There was a a lot of academic and scientific interest in these and related matters in the 1970s. There was little support for what these people attempted to make public knowledge. We are picking up where these people left off. They were using their best guesses, their practical training, to attempt to see where we were going as a civilization. They also has had Rachel Carlson's Silent Spring as painful reminder of what could happen. Now we are in the unfortunate position of being able to see, if we want to, what those who attempted to speak up all those years ago could only guess at. The most ironic part of this whole situation is that never before have so many people had so much relevant information at their fingertips but most of the information is still being cherry picked. The Polar regions have already melted, they just haven't finished melting yet.
The extinction of large species has been steadily progressing along with the spread of human civilization. Not that humans have been around since the beginning of the extinction process but in this particular cycle, humans have their thumbs on the wrong side of the scales. I'm sure it was much easier to kill a baby mastodon than an adult one. If it's bigger or stronger than us we are always actively engaged in killing off those species. Since everything bigger than us on this planet gets permanently demolished why do people believe that Poe's pendulum will stop swinging when it gets to our height? It is already swinging lower than our height so it must be some kind of oversight that it has missed us so far.
After 50,000 years the mechanism we have created has to have been imprinted into the natural system in a number of ways. I don't see of any reason why we should be immune to that mechanism. The theory of our survival only works if we are the top predator on this planet. Instead of looking at the whole process from a visual, human first point of view, if we look at the mass tonnage of the process we see that the microbial world is by far the biggest handler of the wreckage and also has a hand in leading to the downfall of the larger species.
A most graphic display of this would be the plight of the Tasmanian Devil. At first glance it seems to be an exception to the process, seeing as how the disease is so clearly evident and is apparently not something happening to everything else. However, the loss of habitat, the loss of genetic variety, the loss of older members of the populations, all contribute to poor health which leaves the door of extinction wide open to the microbial monkey wrench which is only too eager to start the disintegration process which normally starts after death.
The disintegration process might be triggered early, which is probably the humans Achilles Heel in this entire process of the progression of life as time never goes backwards by itself. As we win in the war against cancer, if such a thing exists, a whole crop of diseases are springing up, called poor man's cancer, a cancer war we are not winning. Commonly triggered by insect bites, it can also be imported into the body by simple introduction of bacteria, viruses, fungi, onto or through the skin, as well as simple ingestion.
There is now a variety of yeast fungus which is antibiotic resistant which is what is used when it gets in the bloodstream. It is fungicide resistant from extensive use of fungicides on farms. Everyone has yeast growing on their bodies. Athletes Foot is a yeast infection which is a simple overgrowth. Different species of bacteria routinely trade genes to survive the drugs we send their way. Their genetic communication protocol system makes our internet look like a child's toy. It is only a matter of time before the different species of yeasts start trading survival genes.
Here's a video that quickly and roughly explains what happened in the past, and where we're heading.
When I was a teenager, I would discuss with friends about the direction the world population and our planet is going. After hours of talking, we would usually end up saying, "We may live to see the horrifying decline of both, in our life time." I find myself now-a-days remarking much like the guy at the end of the bar, from the movie, The Birds. However, I still try to remain optimistic and ask God for help to save humanity and the world we all live on.