Sustainability June 27, 2018
Endangering our plants and animals is endangering us.
Is there anything more exciting than seeing an animal? Whether it be in the zoo or in the wild, there is something awe-inspiring about encountering our animal friends. But much of the wildlife we know and love is becoming endangered thanks to human-related activities, such as poaching and deforestation. Among the most endangered of species are the Amur leopard, Bornean Orangutan, Black Rhino, Tiger, and Gorilla.
There are also few experiences more magical and humbling than standing in the presence of a mighty oak tree or witnessing the blooming of a flower. Yet air pollution and the colony collapse of bees is slowly destroying our plant life. The top five most endangered plants are the Western Prairie Fringed Orchid, Rafflesia Flower, Georgia Aster, Wiggin’s Acalypha, and the Texas Wild Rice.
As the most intelligent species on earth, humans have a responsibility to protect endangered animals and plants. Besides, the moral obligation, it’s important we protect the planet because when plants and animals become endangered so do we.
Here are four reasons why it’s important to protect endangered species.
Did you know that plant and animal species are the foundation of a healthy ecosystem? Each species that is lost leads to the loss of other species within its ecosystem. We humans depend on healthy ecosystems for clean air, water and land. Yet without the plants and animals to keep our ecosystems balanced and purified, we’re risking our own health!
The biodiversity of an area has a large impact on the stability of the ecosystem. The higher the number of species and genetic diversity the more complex the ecosystem, the more complex the ecosystem the higher the stability. In order for humans to live in environments that are capable of bouncing back after a natural disaster, we need biodiversity.
Over 50% of the 150 most prescribed medicines come from plants or natural products. Yet only 5% of known plant species have been tested for medicinal uses. If we continue cutting down our rainforests and polluting our environment we will never know what cures lie out there.
Natural areas in the U.S. and wildlife activities like zoos and woodland hikes are huge tourist attractions a.k.a. big money makers. Our economies benefit from people traveling to participate in these nature-related activities. This means preserving our nation’s biological diversity is critical to preserving the travel industry!
Farmers are the original conservationists. Farmers set aside portions of their land as wildlife habitat while working with organizations that aim to restore habitats for endangered species. Not to mention, wild plants connected to common crops have important genetic material needed to maintain these crops. In other words, protecting endangered wildlife includes protecting our plants, which in turn protects our food….you know, that thing we need to survive.
How You Can Help
There are natural occurrences out of our control that affect populations of plants and animals. However what is within our control is deforestation, land development, recycling and educating ourselves on how to better take care of the environment.
Individually we may not be able to stop deforestation and land development (hugging trees stopped working in the 70s). But there are more doable steps you can take toward protecting endangered species. For instance, learning what species are endangered in our region and sharing that awareness, volunteering at parks or wildlife refuges, reducing your water consumption, recycling and joining a conservation organization.
There’s plenty of ways we can do our part to sustain the wildlife around us and the world we live in. We just have to be willing to do the research and take action.
As creatures of nature, we have an undeniable connection to other living things. It’s our responsibility as the most technologically advanced species to cultivate this connection, not dismiss and destroy it.
Besides, you don’t want to say goodbye to this cuteness forever, do you?
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