Extinction debt. This means the future extinction of a species due to past events in the past, such as changes in habitat or other environmental causes. The term Debt/Debt refers to the idea that the extinction process can take some time before it unfolds, even long after the conditions that triggered it have occurred.
One example is nuclear war. Atomic bombs have the power to destroy entire cities and areas, wiping out both the people who live there as well as the ecosystem that feeds them. Although the short-term effects are crushing, it is usually the long-term effects that are worst. The radioactive fallout from an atomic bomb explosion can contaminate the environment and cause genetic mutations and other health problems that can last for many generations. With the Ukraine-Russia war, where Putin constantly threatens with nuclear weapons, this is a feeling the people of Europe have not felt since the Cold War. Millions of iodine tablets quickly disappeared from the Norwegian pharmacies when the war started in full in Ukraine.
Apocalypse, or doomsday, is a well-known cultural and religion phenomenon. It goes by many names, such as Ragnarök in Norse mythology, the year 2012 in the Mayan calendar or AlMalhama Al-Kubra in the Islamic faith. But perhaps the best known are the 4 horsemen of the Old Testament of the Apocalypse. The 4 riders are relevant to the concept of Extinction Debt, in which each of the 4 horsemen represents several forms of chaos and destruction that will cause the collapse of human civilization.
The first rider is represented by war and destruction that can destroy habitats and ecosystems. The second is famine, which can lead to hunger and reduced fertility in plant and animal populations. The 3rd rider is the Plague, which spreads diseases and reduces the immune system. For example, Covid. Last but not least Death, which is represented by the 4th rider, which can stem from everything from pollution to global warming.
All the riders are well underway, and many scientists believe that the gallop is already finished, and the debt is ominously close.
Finally, Extinction Debt is a reminder of the connection between all living things. When a species goes extinct, it can have ripple effects throughout the ecosystem, even our own human society.