- The definition, I suppose, would be many, many organisms across many, many different groups. And that is, really, what we are seeing and that is what makes scientists fear ... that we're in a mass extinction. ... About a quarter of all mammals are considered endangered. ... About 40 percent of all amphibians are considered endangered. But we're also seeing organisms, invertebrates, for example, are endangered ... many species of reef-building corals are now considered very, very endangered…
- On how she defines mass extinction in “In The World's 'Sixth Extinction,' Are Humans The Asteroid?” in NPR (2014 Feb 12)
- After a mass extinction, it has generally tended to take many millions of years for life to recover. It's not something that you bounce back from, from one day to the next.
- On the expectancy of extinct species bouncing back in “In The World's 'Sixth Extinction,' Are Humans The Asteroid?” in NPR (2014 Feb 12)
- Looking out your window today, the weather you see doesn’t really tell you what’s going on. The earth is big and complicated — and there’s a big time lag in the system. People need to understand that. You know, many people, many scientists, many journalists keep trying to impress that upon the public. It obviously isn’t working very well, but we keep trying.
- On how climate change might not be apparent to individuals in “Telling the Big Story: An Interview with Science Writer Elizabeth Kolbert” in American Experience (2017 Jan 13)
- I think what all nonfiction writers are aiming for is to make people think about things differently — to tell you a story from somewhere that, if you’re vaguely familiar with it, challenges what you think you know about it, or, if it’s a story you’ve never heard before, introduces you to a whole new place or a whole new idea. I’m basically trying to tilt your worldview a little bit.
- On what she hopes to accomplish when writing environmental pieces in “Telling the Big Story: An Interview with Science Writer Elizabeth Kolbert” in American Experience (2017 Jan 13)