It's hard to feel anything but a wave of bleak futility upon reading the revelations from the forthcoming 1,500-page United Nations report on the state of life on Earth. Nearly 150 authors from 50 countries synthesized the findings of thousands of scientific papers and found that because of human activity, the planet's species are disappearing at a rate "tens to hundreds times higher than the average over the last 10 million years."

Some 1 million species, including 40 percent of all amphibians, 33 percent of corals and 10 percent of insects, are at risk of extinction over the next few decades. The mind reels at the variety of life in peril, not to mention the cascading effects on precious ecosystems.

While we consider what mankind can do to rescue fellow creatures on our pale blue dot, we add one quiet prayer: If other species must go extinct, please let the 3,500 varieties of mosquito go first. And throw in the bedbug too.

— New York Daily News