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Dust to Dust

Charles Peales
mastodon, skeleton 1816

Scientists project that nearly 20,000 species across the globe are at a high risk of extinction, and that within the next 300 years, some 75 percent of all mammals could completely disappear from Earth. Experts say that we are in the middle of the sixth mass extinction of life on earth. And what distinguishes it from the previous five extinctions is that it is being caused by humans.

This Earth Day episode of our show will look at how Americans have grappled with the idea of extinction. When did we first realize that species could go extinct? How did Darwin’s theory of natural selection impact our understanding of what creatures survived or died? To what extent did earlier extinctions shape the emergence of today’s environmentalism? And, how have ideas about biological extinction factored into American thinking about human cultures — and about humanity-as-a-whole?

Listen and Learn More Here.

Matt Bingay is the Executive Director and General Manager for WMRA and WEMC.