Igniting the effort toward preservation

Sydney Lewis, Staff Writer

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The central focus of humanity has been for generations, and continues to be, the advancement of human society. Cities and urban settlements are continuously growing, although with the resulting decline of biodiversity, the time has come to recenter our focus.

As our planet faces an accelerating eradication of species, habitats and natural variety we expose ourselves to a number of unprecedented dangers. I believe it is high time to act against these threats while we still have a chance. We must pressure our governments to support solutions that will protect vital species and habitats of our planet. And by protecting plants, animals and natural spaces in our own neighborhoods, we can also make a significant impact at home.

We often tend to ignore environmental issues, but the matter of biodiversity is important and the need to act is urgent. The World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) currently estimates that humans use 25 percent more natural resources than the Earth can sustain. To our detriment, animals and humans alike face the consequences. And with the accelerating loss of biodiversity impacting all links of the food chain, we’re essentially all at risk.

In essence, all species are dependent upon each other in various ways, including humans. The excess of certain human activities— hunting, fishing, clearing forests, and construction, just to name a few, aggravate a serious dilemma. While we may believe these activities are harmless, they do contribute to the endangerment and extinction of a dizzying number of species, which in turn disturbs the food web. With the human population continuously expanding, our footprint on the environment is deepening. I find this impact worrisome.

A number of human actions are exposing us to considerable environmental threats that could imperil our own survival. We might lose vital species, clean air, or even worse, fresh water.  Human activities are far-reaching, and it would serve us well to rethink our attitudes.

Cristiana Pasca Palmer, the United Nations (UN) executive secretary, describes the loss of biodiversity as a “silent killer.” “It’s different from climate change, where people face the impact in everyday life. With biodiversity, it may not may not be so clear but by the time you feel what is happening, it may be too late,” she warns. The United Nations Biodiversity Convention hopes to secure a global deal to establish sustainable management of wildlife and habitats in 2020.

The UN’s current focus on biodiversity is vital at this time. According to “Nature” magazine, only 23 percent of the world’s landmass still remains in its natural state. The remaining 77 percent has been lost entirely due to human activity.

The deterioration of our environment has become far too critical to ignore. It is time to step up our preservation efforts and safeguard the only planet we have.

Restoring the natural balance won’t be an easy task, but it’s a responsibility we share equally as members of the human race. We are responsible for the decline of biodiversity, consequently we must devise a solution. We must spread awareness and take action to stop this destructive trend.

Acting locally to protect biodiversity can be as simple as planting native species, protecting habitats or minimizing usage of toxic insecticides. These are just a few examples of small but effective actions each of us can take to preserve plant varieties and welcome animals in our communities. I am convinced these cumulative efforts will make a difference.

To effect change on a larger scale though we must demand action from our local, state and federal representatives now. Working together I firmly believe we have the power to halt this rapid decline.

Organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund, Earthjustice, National Geographic Society and countless more are already paving the way. And with an increasing number of environmental organizations on the rise, we know our goals are attainable.

As the predominant species on Earth, we have the ability to reverse course. We can either act to preserve our life-sustaining planet or we can look the other way. The choice is ours.

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