One Million Reasons to Care about Endangered Species Day

If one million more reasons to care about Endangered Species Day sounds like hyperbole, consider this. In their recent Global Assessment Report, the United Nations disclosed that as many as one million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction.

“The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever,” The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Chair, Sir Robert Watson said in a press release about the report. “We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”

As dire as that sounds, the report went on to say that it’s not too late to make a difference.

“Through ‘transformative change’, nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably,” said the IPBES Chair.

That’s not an excuse to drag our feet, mind you. For change to happen we need to start now, and we need to attack the issue from all sides. Everyone must get involved.

Nothing motivates like small wins, and we’ve enjoyed a few in recent years. Take a look at these inspiring stories to see the inroads (big and small) we’ve made. From Leonardo DiCaprio talking climate change during his Oscar acceptance speech to humans building teeny tiny snowshoes for an injured mockingbird, these stories show us that change is possible.

More than that, they serve as a call to action for all of us to go out there and do something. No matter how small or insignificant. Every positive act counts.

The planet is at a tipping point. If we don’t do something now, the world’s most endangered animals could soon be something we only see in textbooks and documentaries. A new study by the Centre for Biological Diversity showed that the Endangered Species Act has saved 99 percent of protected species from extinction, but the battle is far from over.

And just in case you’re wondering, cloning isn’t the answer. Even if scientists could overcome all the hurdles facing them, it still won’t fix the problems that made those species extinct in the first place. That’s on us.

endangered species day

What Can You Do to Save Endangered Species?

Because species extinction is the result of human behavior, the most profound way to make a difference is by changing the way we live. Like it or not, our lifestyle habits are a real problem.

Small Changes Matter

The Endangered Species Coalition has put together a list of 10 easy ways to help endangered species. Among others, they suggest ditching herbicides and pesticides, making your home wildlife-friendly and learning about the endangered species in your area.

Adopt One Earth’s ‘Three Pillars of Action’

Launched in 2017 by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, the One Earth Initiative aims to solve the climate crisis through three pillars of action: renewable energy, nature conservation and regenerative agriculture.

A lot of what One Earth proposes requires input at a governmental level, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t contribute on an individual level as well. Simply by changing the way eat, the way we consume and the way we get around, we’ll go a long way to helping make their vision a reality.

When you commit to eating a plant-based diet, adopting a zero-waste lifestyle and opting for a more eco-friendly way of commuting, you’re helping endangered species.

Join the Endangered Species Coalition Activist Network

By joining the Endangered Species Coalition Activist Network you’ll receive emails with actions that you can take to protect endangered and threatened species.

This way, Endangered Species Day can become a regular event on your calendar, rather than something you only think about once a year.

Educate Yourself

These are just a small handful of the talks and documentaries available on endangered species. Take a look at the Video Project’s extensive library to see what other films they’ve made. And be sure to scour TED.com for more talks on endangered species, as well.

[Watch] Protecting Endangered Species for Future Generations

In his 2010 TEDxBoulder talk, Andrew Currie—conservationist and advocate for endangered animals— asks an important question: How do we evolve so we and our fellow creatures thrive 1,000 years from now?

[Watch] Damnation

Damnation makes a profound case for the removal of obsolete dams. When this happens, rivers come back to life, allowing salmon and other wild fish to return to their primeval spawning grounds after decades without access. Habitats are also restored and natural sediment and nutrient flow are reinstated.

[Watch] A Wild Idea

How’s this for a wild idea? In exchange for compensation from the world community, Ecuador has pledged to leave untouched a large oil reserve. Should their proposal succeed, one of the most biodiverse places on Earth will remain untouched.

[Watch] One Earth, an Ambitious Plan to Slow Global Climate Change

Justin Winters—Executive Director of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation—explains the three goals humanity needs to achieve by 2050. It’s a fascinating talk filled with hope and optimism, though she’s quick to highlight the work that lies ahead.

We know that nature is both resilient and responsive. Just look what happens to abandoned buildings and cities. Let’s band together to give her the help she deserves.

Take Action

Ready to get started? Sign and share the petition demanding that Organisation pour la Mise en Valeur du Fleuve Senegal (OMVS) stop the construction of the Koukoutamba dam that will devastate a fragile chimp habitat.

This May, Care2 is launching a campaign to protect endangered species. Join us to save these real-life fantastic beasts!

 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

43 comments

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Anna R2 hours ago

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danii p3 hours ago

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danii p3 hours ago

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Leopold Marek
Leopold M5 hours ago

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Leopold M5 hours ago

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Leopold M6 hours ago

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Leopold M6 hours ago

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Mona M
Mona M7 hours ago

thanks for sharing the Ted talk and the efforts of all these brilliant caring people.

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