This year’s Earth Day theme is protecting our species. More than 150 fish and wildlife species living in New York state are considered to be endangered, threatened, or of special concern. See a list here.
In fact, scientist believe that our planet is experiencing a gigantic rate of species extinction that is 1,000 to 10,000 times more than the normal rate. According to the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (NYLCVEF), the extreme reductions in plant and wildlife species are “a direct consequence of human activities that have significantly altered natural habitats. Estimates suggest that humans have impacted 83% of Earth’s land surface.”
The more species that go missing, the less biodiversity we have in our environment, and the less stable and strong are the ecosystems in which all species are interconnected.
NYCVEF recommends a whole series of steps that individuals can take to help protect species; for example, at home, using less fertilizer and pesticides; or planting a “pollinator-friendly” garden with native plants.
You can find out more about the importance of biodiversity and the latest steps to preserve diversity here.
Joyce H. Newman is an Emmy Award-winning environmental journalist, educator, and gardener. She holds a Certificate in Horticulture from The New York Botanical Garden, and is a tour guide there.