These are just a handful of the animals threatened and wiped out annually. Thirteen bird species alone were confirmed as extinct in 2016, mostly due to invasive predators. More of these animals are bound to die off unless humans make a concerted effort to preserve them.
According to many experts, the world’s flora and fauna are experiencing a global extinction crisis caused by human activity, but we have also learned how to protect species and help them recover. Eight species that would probably have disappeared already were it not for the ESA include the black-footed ferret, humpback whale, bald eagle, American alligator, grizzly bear, Florida manatee, California condor and gray wolf.
A study in the journal Nature Communications examined wild bee populations relative to the use of controversial neonic (neonicotinoid) pesticides from 1994 to 2011, and discovered that extinction rates paralleled their use on plants throughout the country.
Healthy soil, full of billions of beneficial microorganisms, is a major byproduct of regenerative organic farming. Organic farming creates diverse, healthy ecosystems that protect wildlife. However, any agricultural model that’s fixated on yields at the expense of soil health will incur a steep price as those farms won’t remain productive for future generations.
Seed libraries and banks are critically important because the seeds are adapted to the local environment. Seed libraries have multiplied from only a handful a few years ago to as many as 300 located in towns across America today. Public libraries check out seeds to plant in your garden, asking only that you return harvested seeds for others to enjoy. Farmers can now “back up” their seeds in local seed banks, which are also becoming important educational resources to teach students about these issues.
In a recent Yes! magazine article, Rucha Chitnis reports that women are rising up to push back against growing corporate power, land grabs, economic injustice, climate change and more. Women’s groups and networks offer a paradigm shift, she concludes, exposing links between unbridled capitalism, violence, the erosion of human rights and destruction of the Earth.
In the Ivory Coast, where I recently visited, many poor rural people grow cocoa. One way to expand its economy is to produce more cocoa at the expense of tropical rain forests, which ultimately destroys the economy because forests are a major source of rainfall. Extended droughts caused by deforestation reveal that kind of growth is self-defeating. We need a more sophisticated approach, with the economy becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of ecology, not the other way around.
Sean Russell, 24, of Englewood, Florida, was exposed to ocean wonders in junior marine conservation summer camps and 4-H programs. Volunteering with Mote Marine Laboratory’s dolphin research program, in Sarasota, Russell was struck by how improperly discarded fishing line entangled and killed dolphins and other wildlife. At 16, he launched the Stow It—Don’t Throw It Project to promote portable receptacles made from repurposed tennis ball containers for anglers to stash used fishing line for later safe disposal on shore. More than 21,000 containers have been distributed nationwide to date.
participating in his production.
“I appealed to classmates by asking, ‘How do you want to be remembered? Why not choose to be viewed positively, as leaders?’” says Gregory, who later became a spokesperson for NO BULL Challenge. To date, the challenge has received 600 submissions, garnering 23 million impressions through digital and social media, the vehicles of cyberbullies. A recent graduate of Dayton, Ohio’s Wright State University, Gregory has spoken to about 45,000 students in 27 states in school assemblies.
The Non GMO Project is sponsoring National Non-GMO Month in October. Observed since 2010, the program seeks to increase education and awareness about the growing presence of unlabeled genetically modified (GM/GMO) food products and ingredients.