Quentin Wheeler writes a nice piece for National Geographic on why we should spend the money and effort to discover Earth’s species — before it’s too late.
If we play our cards right, the 21st century will be remembered as the golden age of species exploration.
No future generation will ever have the opportunities that we do to explore the results—all 12 million of them—of billions of years of evolution. Earlier generations of taxonomists lacked the travel, communication, and data management tools to complete an inventory of life on a planetary scale, and future generations will live in a world in which much of the living diversity is gone.
I think it’s this kind of big picture thinking that sometimes inspires my students to step up and get involved in this important time in our Earth’s history.