Every year, the third Friday in May marks Endangered Species Day. While we wish the day didn’t have to exist, we’re sharing a few reasons why the day is so important and how you can do your part to make the list shorter every year.
Humans have had an undeniable impact on the natural world and the living creatures that inhabit it. From air and water pollution, to deforestation of wildlife habitats, we’ve helped cause the addition of over 1 million species to the endangered and threatened list. Many people associate endangered species with animals such as the blue whale and orangutan, which is now critically endangered, but there are even more flora on this planet facing extinction than animals. While some empathize with animals over plants, they are just as important in the circle of life and interconnectedness of nature’s way of operating, and deserve protection and preservation just the same!
This Year: Celebrating the Endangered Species Act
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the endangered species act. In 1973, the Endangered Species Act became one of the first sweeping legislation acts to protect wildlife affected by toxic pesticides, rampant hunting, and habitat loss. The act requires the government to not only prevent continued losses of these threatened and endangered species, but implement recovery plans for those which have already been lost in high numbers and face extinction. This landmark legisalation institutionalized our national commitment to the conservation of fish, plants and wildlife and the places they call home--and it has proven to work. 99% of species added to the list are still surviving to this day. The bald eagle, a once endangered species, is a perfect example--it has seen a population increase large enough to be removed from the list entirely!
What can we do this Endangered Species Day?
Use your voice! Call your legislators and let them know you support legislation preserving wildlife, endangered species, and those who face harm by the hands of humans. Your representative should be working on behalf of their constituents and not corporations, so take note of the ambitions and initiatives of your community and how they align with what your reps are bringing to the negotiation table.
Consider starting a cleanup party, and don’t limit it to just the Endangered Species Day! Get a group of friends and family together and do you part to clean, maintain, and rehabilitate natural areas in your community on a regular basis. You may not be able to directly work on the habitats of animals in other countries with physical labor, but you can prevent those in your own backyard from falling into an uninhabitable state.
Lastly, consider engaging with organizations like the NRDC and WWF who work everyday to keep endangered species and their habitats protected. These organizations have decades of hard work under their belt and the integrity to fight for what is right over what is profitable. As climate change impacts every species more and more each year, your action has never been more important. With so many options for ways to get involved, this May 19th (and beyond), it’s time to do your part to keep our fellow earth inhabitants thriving for years to come!