Earth Day 2019
All living things have an intrinsic value, and each plays a unique role in the complex web of life. We must work together to protect endangered and threatened species:
Earth Day Network is asking people to join our Protect our Species campaign. Our goals are to:
- Educate and raise awareness about the accelerating rate of extinction of millions of species and the causes and consequences of this phenomenon.
- Achieve major policy victories that protect broad groups of species as well as individual species and their habitats.
- Build and activate a global movement that embraces nature and its values.
- Encourage individual actions such as adopting plant based diet and stopping pesticide and herbicide use.
These are noble goals, but the problem of endangered species is systematic, institutionalized, built into the perpetual-growth, fantasy economies of modern civilization and the explosive population growth of human beings (82 million people born per year).
The main causes of species extinction are:
- Habitat destruction (these are too numerous to mention)
- Overharvesting (fish)
- Pollution (bees, birds of prey)
- Introduction of invasive species (fire ants)
- Overhunting (elephants, rinos)
- Climate change (coral reefs)
We really do live in a web of life and the greater the diversity of life, the greater the resilience and sustainability of an ecosystem (actually almost any system). But, we still need electricity to our homes and depend upon the utility company to provide that. I looked into solar panels, but they won’t work for my circumstance. I still need to drive to work so I need gasoline. Electric cars are too expensive right now and there is no public transportation to my job. I do try to buy organic produce because I don’t want to support the agribusinesses, but their reach is difficult to avoid. Same thing trying to avoid using plastics. The problem of endangered species is endemic to our lifestyles and political systems. Petrochemical industries are entwined with our politics, our economies and our diplomatic enterprises. Don’t get me started on the drug companies. You know, they can’t filter the microplastics from laundry and beauty products or medications and hormones that we pee into our water systems. There are some crazy things going on with amphibians and other aquatic species that haven’t fully come to light yet.
I hate to sound pessimistic, but this is a huge problem and one that is difficult to make appreciable changes for individuals. I think it boils down to living simply, use local resources when possible, eat low on the food chain, garden, share with others. And vote for people who understand the issues and who will make the difficult policy priorities that are needed.
I have other postings on endangered species at: