Earth Day, the largest secular observance in the world, is celebrated by more than a billion people in 192 countries. The push for a healthy, sustainable habitat for humans and wildlife alike has prompted nearly 50 years of celebration and activism on April 22 each year.
The theme for 2019 is “Protect Our Species”. Modern living and recent human activity has spurred the greatest rate of extinction since the age of dinosaurs, over 60 million years ago. A few small action steps this Earth Day could profoundly impact endangered species across the globe.
Did you know that one in four wild U.S. bee species is at risk of extinction? Bees play an important role in plant pollination, creating both food and shelter for many other species. You can help from home by planting a bee-friendly garden.
More than 25% of all marine life on the planet live in coral reefs, but climate change, pollutants, overfishing and tourism have led to significant and dangerous declines. You can support the reefs by recycling all materials and foregoing pesticides, wherever you live. Plastic waste and harmful chemicals can and will eventually find their way to the ocean.
The insect population has declined 45% in less than 50 years, impacting pollination, food production and soil quality. Create a fertile habitat for insects with a compost pile, or grow native plants to attract local species.
Pollution, dam construction, bycatch, boat collisions, hunting and climate change threaten one of the world’s most critical marine mammals. To combat decline, choose only sustainable seafood. Large-scale fisheries can harm whales, as they’re entangled in commercial fishing nets, and the fish in their ecosystem are depleted.
Nearly 40% of known bird species are in decline. To help protect birds, turn interior lights off to prevent collisions with windows and keep cats indoors instead of out hunting.
Great Apes’ DNA is most similar to humans’, as is as their altruism. The next time you’re in the grocery store, scan ingredient lists for palm oil, which contributes to both habitat loss and population decline. Saying no to palm oil will decrease demand and increase chance of survival.
* Source: earthday.org “Endangered Species” Campaign