Under current assumptions we are slowly entering a period of major biodiversity loss with threats to the planet that are severe but difficult to perceive. The effects of human actions on the Earth’s ecosystem are well documented, but what if the scale and pace of species extinction and its consequences have been grossly underestimated? Almost daily reports of severely threatened or extinct species should serve as a wake-up call. But focusing exclusively on species extinction inaccurately reflects the magnitude of the problem, since hundreds of thousands of vertebrate populations have disappeared or are disappearing much before the species they belong to become extinct. Gerardo Ceballos is Senior Researcher at the Institute of Ecology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. A major figure in global conservation science, his theoretical work resulted in the very first evaluation of the conservation status of the entire class of land mammals on a global scale. In a recent study on the decimation of animal species worldwide, Gerardo and colleagues warn of the dramatic scope of the coming sixth mass extinction event caused by human-made habitat destruction. At Falling Walls, Gerardo delivers a sobering message about the drastic consequences this brings for the future of humanity while offering hope of abating the current trend through the use of urgent measures.

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