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11 Things You Can Do to Save Species and Conserve Biodiversity

By Joe Laur |
An estimated 27,000 species are going extinct every year.
environmental impact

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past decade, you know that life on the planet is in trouble. All major systems are declining and the rate of decline is accelerating. We are losing more species than at any time since the last great extinction, the one that closed the books on dinosaurs. An estimated 27,000 species are going extinct every year. Extinction means never having to say you’re sorry, ‘because there’s no one left to say it to! Why is this happening and what can the average you and me do about it?

As I pointed out in an earlier blog, a Global Game of Chicken, human activity, unlike past extinctions, is what it driving this one. From the elephant slaughtered for its ivory to feed a subsistence family to critters hunted for their fashionable fur; to snails, frogs, birds and others who lost their habitat- i.e. their home to development of human cities, villages, farms and industries; to orangutans and birds made homeless by logging and deforestation of their community; to species whose narrow niche is growing too warm or dry to survive; to pollution, like pesticides and human medicines that get flushed into the ecosystem; extinction is everywhere and comes from many causes.

It’s a system, folks. When one species disappears, it imbalances the food chain, which may cause some critters to over populate while others starve. We never know for sure which species is most critical to the system- the loss of one can impact many. Destroying plant life increases the amount of CO2 in the air, accelerating climate change, while removing a potential medicinal discovery. Losing the genes of one species closes the door on any other species developing from that one. And animals and plants serve so many functions for us, from fertilizing soil to purifying air and water, that the loss of one is a tragedy for all. It’s like losing your house, one brick, one board, one shingle at a time- when does the house fall down?

Now that I’ve thoroughly bummed you out, let me empower you. What can you do to save species and preserve habitat?

1. Volunteer for an organization fighting to preserve wildlife, like the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, National Wildlife Federation or Wildlife Conservation Society. I helped preserve sea turtles in the Gulf on Mexico on a trip to Costa Rica. An amazing experience, and given the oil spew in the Gulf, it helped save a few dozen members of the turtle clan to weather that storm.

2. If you can’t give time, give money. Donation to the cash strapped organizations provides needed staff, supplies and educational materials to fight the good fight.

3. If you can’t donate, write. Write a letter to your government, companies, and the local papers and express your concern and commitment. You’ll be speaking for many. You could also volunteer to write copy or ad material for the organizations above. Too much eloquence is not a problem. You can send a message to your elected representatives at Wildlife Conservation Society.

4. Start a petition on Facebook, at your church, synagogue or mosque, in your hometown or other community. Spread the word.

5. Recycle and conserve everything. The fewer resources we use, the more forests, fields, lakes and stream and fertile habitat there is for the rest of God’s critters who share this blue green ball with us.

6. Support adoption, birth control and basic needs for families with children. Taking care of families who are struggling to take care of themselves, and educating girls, lowers birthrates. More kids survive to adulthood, so fewer need to be born. It helps us stay within our “carrying capacity” on the planet.

7-11. Pick-a-Cause. In the coming weeks, the U.S. Congress will decide how much funding zoos and aquariums will receive to rescue and rehabilitate oiled animals. Without this critical support, the wildlife of the Gulf will suffer further. Here are some specific programs you can support, courtesy of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Protect Critical Conservation Programs
Urge Congress to restore the funding necessary for the United States to honor its international conservation commitments.

Save Wildlife, Save Our Climate
By safeguarding wildlife and their habitats, we can help protect the planet from global warming.

Help Reverse the Wildlife Extinction Crisis
The window for protecting the world’s remaining natural areas is rapidly closing. Urge Congress to help reverse the wildlife extinction crisis and conserve the last of the wild.

Great Cats and Rare Canids Need Your Help
Please ask Congress to support the Great Cats and Rare Canids Act and save these species from vanishing.

Make a Difference for America's Wildlife!
Support the State Wildlife Grants program to stop the increase of threatened and endangered species in America.

Remember, to that not all animals are cute and fuzzy, like baby seals, or awe inspiring, like blue whales. But creepy, crawly, slimy homely animals need love too! Support ‘em all. In this journey, it’s all- or nothing. We are all endangered species.

Share with Your Friends & Family
  • VALERIE H. 4 years ago
    the difference we make today is something that we can be thankful for in the future.
  • Kathy T. 4 years ago
    I just sent letters to my Senators reguarding Great Cats & Rare Canids & I was so pleased to find out Sen. John Kerry is actually presenting a bill to help. I want to do everything I can to help.
  • janet i. 4 years ago
    As an American, I can relate to the plight of all these animals. To the forests where they live, the lands that need to be saved. But, as an American; I feel that these letters are asking too much of our government. We should not have to police the whole world. You are asking too much in these tough economic times we are going through. How about we first ask for funds to repair our own worn down USof A before we repair the world!
  • Mr Mrs Bri K. 4 years ago
    educational info ! Thanks
  • terri s. 4 years ago
    The way we treat animals is indicative in the way we treat ourselves.
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