Until a few years ago I would not have classified myself as an environmentalist. Further, my entrance into the world of environmental advocacy was related to my growing interest in energy issues. However, during my journey over the past few years I have come to understand that nothing can be a more obvious sign of our society’s disregard for the natural world than the rate at which we are killing off majestic creatures of creation.
I recently read the following headline: “Without Intervention Lions Heading for Extinction.” In 1960, there were 400,000 lions living in the wild. Today, there are just 20,000.http://www.npr.org/2011/03/02/133999157/without-intervention-lions-heading-for-extinction?sc=fb&cc=fp. Reading this article, not only made me incredibly sad, but also sparked my curiosity. If mighty lions are in trouble, what is the state of lesser known species?
Unfortunately, as I began to do a quick search, the fragile condition of the natural world became apparent.
According to a recent study, humans are driving extinction faster than species can evolve. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/07/extinction-species-evolve). The study further states that the, “The world’s sixth mass extinction may be under way… Over the past 540 million years, five mega-wipeouts of species have occurred through naturally-induced events. But the new threat is man-made, inflicted by habitation loss, over-hunting, over-fishing, the spread of germs and viruses and introduced species and by climate change caused by fossil-fuel greenhouse gases, says the study.” The study calculates that three-quarters of today's animal species could vanish within 300 years. http://www.canada.com/technology/science/story.html?id=4371708
I apologize for the format of my post today. I thought it was important to give easy access to links so that you can read this information for yourself and have a chance to digest it because this short blog post certainly does not due the information justice. Biodiversity is under attack. Species are continuing to go extinct at an increasing rate. Unless the international community steps up efforts to protect endangered species, in a few generations much of the biodiversity that exists throughout our planet will be destroyed.
The following link is to a slide show of 10 animals that are very close to extinction. I urge you to flip through these photos in order to appreciate the wide range of species that are disappearing all over the world. http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1888702_1863813,00.html
Here is a list of the endangered species in the United States alone: http://www.earthsendangered.com/continent9M-all.html
The following link discusses sea creatures endangered by human activity: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/04/ocean-acidification/kolbert-text
I have posted the text from the creation story in Genesis. After reading these articles and sifting through a dozen related ones, I decided to pull up the text from creation. As I read it a great sense of sadness overtook me. I am not naïve. I understand that there have been extinctions that have occurred throughout history. However, the difference is that in this case it is not the result of a natural event. We as a society have decided that protecting biodiversity is not a priority. However, we should remember the words from Genesis after the fifth and sixth days of creation: G-d saw that it was good. G-d blessed them. So should we.
Day 5: And God said, "Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky." So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
Day 6: And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind." And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.