How Are Endangered Species Faring Post-Pandemic?

Written by Hibah Jelani

National Endangered Species Day is right around the corner, on May 21st. Since 2006, National Endangered Species Day has been celebrated and recognized by thousands around the world. As the human population increases, the impact we have on the environment escalates in severity. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 16,928 plant and animal species are known to be threatened with extinction today. Many of the facts point towards human activity being the primary cause of these extinctions. On National Endangered Species Day, let’s take a step back and evaluate our actions and question whether we are living as sustainably as possible or are unknowingly contributing to the loss of biodiversity. 

Earth’s biodiversity is made up of a complex network of structures called ecosystems. These systems work together to keep planet Earth running. Like any other system, when one component is damaged, the entire network threatens to fall apart. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), humans are currently using 25% more natural resources than the planet can sustain. This imbalance is damaging the system and is impacting the lives of many animal species, both on land and in water. The rate of extinction has been steadily growing as we continue to pollute, exploit, and destroy habitats. Species that become extinct can never come back. After they are gone, humans lose valuable services such as food sources and research that could possibly save lives. It is believed that if the dodo bird was studied and protected a century ago, their saliva could have been utilized as a natural antidepressant. Instead, they were exploited and harmed by none other than humans. 

Although it may seem like a big problem to tackle, we are the ones responsible for the issue in the first place. This is our burden to carry and future generations will hold us accountable for these mistakes. We must urge our government to come up with an action plan and work with them to implement it in our daily lives. This year, due to the pandemic, all celebrations will be online. Although it may seem to be an unfortunate turn of events, in this case, shifting to an online platform really helped. Being online has connected people from all over the world and has given many individuals the opportunity to showcase their talents. There will be a youth art contest, where children in grades K-12 are encouraged to submit their art online. There will also be scavenger hunts and contests where people can compete from the comfort of their backyards. With the help of the internet, judges will be able to keep score and give out awards accordingly. Those who cannot participate in the activities are also encouraged to donate, volunteer, or go on nature walks to appreciate all that Earth has to offer. 

How can you help?

There are many other ways to help endangered animals during the year. The first and easiest action is to raise awareness. Sometimes it may feel like an unimportant component, but the truth is that when more people are educated, there is a better chance of the issue being resolved. Next, we can look inside our own backyards to see if there’s any way we can increase biodiversity. One of the largest causes of endangered species is a loss of habitat. By making our homes sustainable, we can create more places for species to thrive. We can also decrease the amount of water we waste, minimize the use of pesticides, remember to Reduce-Reuse-Recycle, and donate to wildlife conservations working hard to protect animal habitats. Every little bit helps. Many people don’t realize it, but fast fashion brands and some makeup products seriously harm the environment. Unknowingly, we are destroying the Earth as the majority of us are not educated. By conducting some research, you can find brands that sell completely natural products that are biodegradable and do not harm the environment. 

Despite the disturbance caused by the pandemic, nature has never given up on us. This means that it is our responsibility, as citizens of the earth, to take care of our planet. We must learn to live sustainably because there is no planet 2.0 and there is no other solution. We must become the solution. This National Endangered Species Day, spread the word, step outside of your comfort zone, and most importantly, take action. 

Sources:

Thomson, KarrieHow Are Endangered Species Faring Post-Pandemic?