The world is facing the greatest rate of extinction since we lost the dinosaurs more than 60 million years ago. But unlike the fate of the dinosaurs, the rapid extinction of species in our world today is the result of human activity. Climate change, deforestation and unsustainable agriculture has resulted in significant habitat loss, while practices such as trafficking and poaching hasten the rate of extinction.
The rapid loss of species we are seeing today is estimated by experts to be between 1,000 and 10,000 times greater than the natural extinction rate, meaning that between 200 and 2,000 extinctions occur every year. In Virginia alone, hundreds of species are currently threatened or endangered. From sea turtles, such as leatherbacks and loggerheads, to birds like the red-cockaded woodpecker or the roseate tern, many species native to Virginia have become endangered and need your help.
Earth Day 2019 provides the perfect platform for individuals and organizations in central Virginia to ramp up their efforts and launch new initiatives to promote biodiversity and protect Virginia’s native species. To this end, Earth Day Network is asking you to join our Protect our Species campaign for 2019. Our goals are to:
Central Virginia already has taken great strides towards the goal of protecting its native species, which Earth Day Network hopes will continue and expand. Some existing initiatives include the Richmond Audubon Society’s Bird-a-thon, which aims to raise awareness of Virginia’s birdlife and to raise funds to support local conservation projects, and the Charlottesville Rivanna Conservation Alliance’s River Stewards Initiative that provides reports of the river’s conditions including its biodiversity.
For more information about how to engage with Earth Day Network’s Protect Our Species campaign, visit our resources page.