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August 15, 2019

The Endangered Species List & why We’re Closer than Ever to being Added to It.

 

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I stared for minutes on end into the big, black eyes of the leopard seal pup on my postcard.

It was a feat for a six-year-old me—several whole minutes. I was mesmerized by the adorable, fuzzy, white creature.

That’s the earliest memory I have associated with the term “endangered species.”

I wanted to do something back then. I wanted later to adopt Free Willy. And humpback whales. And polar bears. And panda bears. I was a little conservationist at heart.

My list of “to-save” animals continued to grow as I aged, and not only because as we mature, we tend to become more concerned about the issues surrounding our survival, but because the number of endangered species (both animal and plant) continues to grow in length.

But for years I never did anything. So, I finally took action.

This past December, at 33 years old, I ran my first ever marathon for the benefit of World Wildlife Fund, and raised over $1,000 to aid in the organization’s conservation efforts. While in Hawaii to do so, I also conquered a lifelong fear and went scuba diving in the open ocean with 10-foot Galapagos sharks—a species approaching threatened category, or essentially pre-endangered status (vulnerable to endangerment).

I came out of the water enamored with the sharp-toothed predators and anxious only to stand up for them as well as the rest of the living creatures on this planet that share a similar plight.

There’s no better time than now to inform or remind ourselves and others about the importance of biodiversity, and why it matters.

About one million species are threatened with extinction.

Yeah. One million of the various types of living things on this planet are in a dangerous decline, or are precariously close to becoming extinct—several of which can happen within our or our children’s lifetimes.

But wait, there’s more! The populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians have declined 60 percent in a little over 40 years.

The more species that become threatened, vulnerable, or endangered, the closer we Homo sapiens come to being added to the ever-expanding roster of could-be-extinct species.

It can be difficult to explain biodiversity, conservation, and their importance to members of our community who might not be up-to-speed on the issues (or flat-out resistant to them). It is even more difficult to call them to action. But we mustn’t ever stop trying.

Here are two videos that can inform and entertain today, or any day:

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author: Marisa Zocco

Image: Menglong Bao/Unsplash

Image: @ecofolks on Instagram

Editor: Kelsey Michal