Icon, legend and knight (and a general global treasure) Sir David Attenborough once said: "It is this range of biodiversity that we must look after – the whole thing – instead of just one or two stars". With that nugget of wisdom, we celebrate World Day of Endangered Species on May 15th, looking at the world around us and enjoying the natural beauty in which we live.
Last year, a UN report found that about a million animal and plant species (more than ever 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 highlighted that the top five threats (in terms of order of impact) are changes in the way land and ocean are used, direction exploration, climate change, pollution and the introduction of non-native species into the environment. Although significant progress has been made, it has not been large or fast enough to help change the course of action for many species.
While this may seem like a bigger problem than we can handle, there are little things we can do on this World Endangered Species Day to help change habits, raise awareness and celebrate all the incredible living things out there! (Friendly quarantine, obvs).
- Take a virtual tour of one of 31 different national parks in America via Google Earth. See them on here! (Our personal favorite is Yosemite National Park)
- Post on social media, share your endangered species and post some facts to help generate more awareness of the problems they are facing. Make sure to use the hashtag #EndangeredSpeciesDay.
- Increase your knowledge and appreciation for the natural world by watching documentaries. Some personal favorites (with everyone's favorite celebrity grandfather) include Seven Worlds, One Planet (which also has a very good soundtrack) and the Planet Earth and Blue Planet series.
- Register for a free online course with National Geographic on here. Learn about the illegal wildlife trade or how the scientific expedition can help with conservation efforts.
- Offer your time. This can be as great as planning a trip around the world to help endangered species in a conservation project for sea turtles or giant pandas, or simply picking up trash on their daily walk or exercise. Everything helps to keep the environment clean, healthy and prosperous.
- Write to your local government representative and let them know that this is an important issue for you. Through education and activism, we can help keep protections in place, as well as help find new ones.
- See your personal impact on the planet. Remember, thinking small can help to build the change that our natural world so desperately needs. See how you can fight climate change at home on 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 to how we live and travel to help preserve it. We will leave you with a quote from … you guessed it, Sir David Attenborough: "The point is, we are happy to assume that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant, except in an illustrated book."