Earth Day 2019 - Protect Our Species
“In nature, nothing exists alone.”
— Rachel Carson, 1962
Everywhere you go on our planet, there is something alive around you! If you pay a bit of attention, whether in a city or the countryside, you will almost always see a tree, a plant, a bird, an insect...some form of life. Furthermore, any person who has watched a TV program about nature, read a nature magazine, visited a zoo or aquarium, or enjoyed a walk in the outdoors, has probably noticed the immense variety of plants and animals that surround us. Our planet is truly thriving with living things. Some we are familiar with and others we have never heard of. There are so many! And estimates keep changing. “Scientists generally agree that many more species exist than are formally described, but they disagree about how many there really are. The most recent study, published in 2017, estimates that there are roughly 2 billion living species on Earth, over a thousand times more than the current number of described species.”1 The graph below shows a breakdown of those species.
Yes, that is right! A majority of them are bacteria. The species sharing this planet range from large marine mammals such as whales and dolphins, to small land mammals such as country mice; from the fish we eat in our meals to the incredible deep sea creatures that glow in the dark and look to be straight from horror movies. They range from the songbirds that wake us up in the morning and the crows and vultures that take care of the remains of dead animals, to the amazing insects that live in complex colonies of thousands of individuals and the bacteria that exist in our guts. We hardly ever think about most of the world’s species and even more of them we will never get to see.
The natural world is an amazing and complex web of life in which every species has a role to play, interrelated with everything else that exists. Every single species evolved to be what it is for a biological reason. Each one occupies a particular niche in the grand scheme of life and is needed by other species to thrive and survive. Simply put, we still know quite little about the myriad of species that inhabit the planet with us. It takes years of research and studies and quite a lot of funding to discover a new species and figure out how they live and relate to those around them. It takes time and dedication to understand how one species fits into their ecosystem and the possible impacts of their disappearance. Hence, it is extremely concerning that we are losing species before science has the chance to find out how important they really are!
Here's a little clip from Planet Earth, Episode 1, Series 1: Bird Of Paradise Courtship Spectacle | Planet Earth - BBC Earth. Deep in the forests of New Guinea there is a rich variety of life, each species more bizarre than the last. One such spectacle is the male Bird of Paradise who appears to go to extraordinary lengths to attract a mate.
Nature’s gifts to our planet are the species that we know and love, along with the many more that we have yet to discover. Unfortunately, we have upset the balance of nature and 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 today is the result of human activity. We are seeing an unprecedented rapid reduction of plant and animal wildlife populations that is directly linked to human activity, from climate change, deforestation, habitat loss, trafficking and poaching, unsustainable agriculture, pollution, and pesticide use. The impacts are far-reaching and we must take action now to Protect our Species.
Earth Day Network https://www.earthday.org
Youtube: Bird Of Paradise Courtship Spectacle | Planet Earth | BBC Earth