So I was reading this article for class and it actually gave me a reason to be a paleontologist that you can tell the outside world. Usually I get the question, "So how is this going to help humanity?" and my response is usually one of "I don't care about humanity". But this is useful:
"If indeed a crisis in biodiversity is occurring, what can paleontologists contribute to the understanding? The simple answer is, a huge amount. We are the only scientists who have ever seen biodiversity crises to their end, know consistent characteristics of species at risk, and have some idea of what happens in the aftermath. We are also the only ones who have seen crises of differing severity and can conduct comparative studies of death and recovery."
"We can expand our role beyond informing other scientists and the public about life in the past. We can help inform scientists and the public about life in the future."
Sepkoski, J.J., Jr., 1997, Biodiversity: past, present, and future: Jour. Paleontology, 71(4):533-539.