By David Robinson, Endangered Species Day Director, Endangered Species Coalition
On Monday, the world woke up to a devastating report from the United Nations that brought scientific confirmation to some of our biggest fears: human civilization is pushing the planet into a massive extinction. The report shows that as many as one million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction. The report – a nearly three-year effort with contributions from almost 150 scientists from 50 nations – projects that biodiversity loss will likely increase through 2050 unless widescale changes are made.
Climate change, overfishing, habitat loss, pollution, and the spread of invasive species were highlighted in the report as some of the major ways humanity is reducing biodiversity.
Now, more than ever before in our lives, we need to come together to act to save imperiled species and protect our shared home. That urgent need is a driving force behind the 2019 Endangered Species Day.
Endangered Species Day is a global day of action to save species and celebrate conservation successes. The Endangered Species Coalition proposed the day to the U.S. Senate in 2006 and obtained a unanimous resolution proclaiming Endangered Species Day to be recognized every year on the third Friday in May.
Over the last fourteen years, Endangered Species Day has grown to include events across the United States and as far as New Zealand. It is a day (or week) to both reflect on the positive actions we have taken to save species, and to get our hands dirty working to continue and build upon those successes.
While the news this week is dire, we know that from experience that with concerted, collaborative effort, we can save species from extinction. A report published last month demonstrated that the Endangered Species Act is 99 percent effective at saving listed species from extinction.
We need only look back a few years to see an example of recent and substantial recovery made possible by the Endangered Species Act. Three subspecies of island fox found on California’s Channel Islands were delisted in 2016 after having come back thanks to the Act. The comeback marked the fastest recovery of an Endangered Species Act listed mammal in the law’s history.
The bald eagle, humpback whale, whooping crane, and Robbins’ cinquefoil are more of the many species that are here today thanks to the Endangered Species Act.
Join us on May 17th or the days surrounding Endangered Species Day in celebrating what we have worked so hard to achieve and in taking actions at home to build on that success. See some of the many events planned here.
Find ways to take action to help save species at www.endangeredspeciesday.org