Icon, legend and knight (and all-around global treasure) Sir David Attenborough once said “It is that range of biodiversity that we must care for – the whole thing – rather than just one or two stars”. With this nugget of wisdom, we’re celebrating World Endangered Species Day on May 15 by looking at the world around us and appreciating the natural beauty that we live in.
Last year, a report by the UN found that around one million animal and plant species (more than there has ever been in human history), are now facing the prospect of extinction. Some potentially, 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 outlined that the five biggest threats (in significance of impact order), are changes in the way that the land and ocean are used, direction exploitation, climate change, pollution and the introduction of non-native species to the environment. Whilst significant progress has been made, it has not been big or fast enough to be able to help change the course of action for many species.
Whilst this may seem like a bigger problem than we can handle, there are small things we can do this World Endangered Species Day to help change habits, raise awareness and celebrate all the awesome living creatures out there! (Quarantine friendly, obvs).
- Take a virtual tour of one of 31 different national parks within America via Google Earth. Check them out here! (Our personal favourite is Yosemite National Park)
- Post on social media, share your favourite endangered species and post some facts to help generate more awareness of the issues they are facing. Make sure you use the hashtag #EndangeredSpeciesDay.
- Increase your knowledge and appreciation for the natural world by watching documentaries. Some personal favourites (featuring everyone’s favourite celebrity grandad) include Seven Worlds, One Planet (which has a pretty killer sound track too) and the Planet Earth and Blue Planet series.
- Enroll in a free online course with National Geographic here. Learn about the illegal wildlife trade, or how scientific expedition can help conservation efforts.
- Volunteer your time. This can be as big as planning a trip across the world to help an endangered species on a sea turtle or giant panda conservation project, or simply picking up trash on your daily walk or exercise. Every little bit helps keep the environment clean, healthy and thriving.
- Write to your local government representative and let them know this is an important issue to you. Through education and activism, we can help to keep protections in place, as well as help to find new ones.
- Look at your personal impact on the planet. Remember, thinking small can help build the change that our natural world so desperately needs. Take a look at ways you can fight climate change from home here.
Our world is a magnificent place. However, it is also a fragile place. At home and on the road, we can all make changes in how we live and travel to help preserve it. We will leave you with a quote from… you guessed it, Sir David Attenborough: “The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except in a picture book”.