The loss of biodiversity around the planet comes with very human costs, I tell the hosts of The Silent Why podcast.

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What do we lose when we lose species? And how can we turn grief into action?

As I discuss on a recent episode of The Silent Why — a podcast exploring 101 different types of grief and loss — the extinction crisis affecting this planet sometimes feels overwhelming. It can fill us with dread while it robs the world of wonder, culture and connections. Extinction leaves the world a little less amazing, and we’re all a little poorer and sadder for it.

But sometimes that grief can also drive us, deepen our capacity for empathy, renew our commitment to do better, and encourage us to celebrate life while it still exists. That’s something we can all share when we experience loss, whether it’s the death of a parent or the solastalgia we feel from the decline of nature.

And that’s just part of the hour-long episode, which also touches upon what’s causing the extinction crisis, what species I’d save if I could, and what we can all do to help. It’s a wide-ranging conversation, and hosts Claire and Chris Sandys ask some insightful questions, many of which are made even more poignant by their own love of wildlife and experiences with loss.

Listen to The Silent Why below or through your favorite podcast app.

A transcript is also available.

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John R. Platt

is the editor of The Revelator. An award-winning environmental journalist, his work has appeared in Scientific American, Audubon, Motherboard, and numerous other magazines and publications. His “Extinction Countdown” column has run continuously since 2004 and has covered news and science related to more than 1,000 endangered species. He is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and the National Association of Science Writers. John lives on the outskirts of Portland, Ore., where he finds himself surrounded by animals and cartoonists.