Icon, legend and knight (and worldwide treasure) Sir David Attenborough once said: "It is this range of biodiversity that we have to maintain – the whole – and not just a star or two." With this nugget of wisdom Let's celebrate World Endangered Species Day on May 15 by looking at the world around us and appreciating the natural beauty in which we live.
A United Nations report last year found that around one million animal and plant species (more than ever in human history) are at risk of extinction. Some may be within decades. These include the black rhino, orangutan, giant panda and blue whale, as well as groups of corals, flowers, ferns and trees.
The report also highlighted that the top five threats (in terms of impact order importance) are changes in how land and ocean are used, directional exploitation, climate change, pollution, and the introduction of alien species into the United States is environment. Although significant progress has been made, it was not large or fast enough to change the way many species proceeded.
Although this seems to be a bigger problem than we can handle, there are little things we can do on this World Endangered Species Day to change habits, raise awareness, and all the great creatures out there to celebrate! (Quarantine friendly, obvs).
- Take a virtual tour of one of 31 different national parks in America on Google Earth. Check them out here! (Our personal favorite is the Yosemite National Park)
- Post on social media, share your favorite endangered species, and post some facts to raise awareness of the problems they face. Make sure you use the hashtag #EndangeredSpeciesDay.
- Increase your knowledge and appreciation for nature by watching documentaries. Some personal favorites (with any favorite celebrity grandpa) are Seven Worlds, One Planet (which also has a pretty great soundtrack) and the Planet Earth and Blue Planet series.
- Register here for a free online course at National Geographic. Learn more about the illegal wildlife trade or how scientific expeditions can help preserve it.
- Free up your time. This can be as big as planning a trip around the world to help an endangered species with a sea turtle or giant panda conservation project, or simply picking up trash on your daily walk or training. Every little bit helps to keep the environment clean, healthy and successful.
- Write to your local government representative and let them know that this is an important issue for you. Through education and activism, we can help maintain protective measures and find new ones.
- Look at your personal impact on the planet. Remember, thinking small can help build the change that our natural world needs so badly. See how you can fight climate change from home.
Our world is a great place. However, it is also a fragile place. At home and on the go, we can all change our lives and travel to preserve it. We will leave you a quote from … You guessed it, Sir David Attenborough: "The question is whether we are happy to assume that our grandchildren may only see an elephant in a picture book."