All around the world, human activity is leading to the destruction or rapid reduction of populations of plants and wildlife. Species are going extinct, and habitats are shrinking. The variety of living things in a given place — whether in a small stream, a desert, a forest, the oceans, or the entire planet –also known as biodiversity, is reducing faster than ever before. If this problem continues, it will have an overall negative impact on the capacity of the planet to sustain life, including ours.
All living things have an intrinsic value, but also serve a purpose and play a role in the web of life and the production of key ecosystem services that are indispensable to maintain life. For example, the production of food, water, and clean air; the control of climate and disease; the support of nutrient cycles and oxygen production; and the provision of spiritual and recreational benefits.
The theme of Earth Day 2019 (April 22) is Protect our Species. Only with the support of many more people will we turn the tide and prevent further extinctions. Earth Day Network is undertaking an effort to engage people, institutions, businesses, and the media across the globe to define the ethical guidelines that should inform our relationships with other living things. We, as the dominant species, constantly have to make decisions that affect other living things.
What are the ethical parameters that we should take into consideration when making those decisions? From deciding how to control living things that we called pests, to buying products made of other animals, to taking wildlife as pets, to developing on top of natural habitats. All those activities imply some trade-offs between protecting species and economic development. Navigating those trade-offs ethically will determine the survival of other species while humans continue to live on this planet.
Over the next year, we will implement projects and campaigns to:
- Educate the public and raise awareness about species loss and how to prevent it.
- Achieve inspirational policy victories protecting iconic species around the world.
- Collectively develop a global conservation ethic that informs every individual’s actions and behaviors.
- Engage millions of individuals in taking direct actions to change their behavior and support wildlife conservation and protection.
The goal of EDN’s Protect Our Species 2019 Campaign and Program is to promote the development of a global conservation ethic by which every human being recognizes and respects the rights of all other species to exist in their natural habitat, at the population size necessary to ensure their genetic variation in their natural ecosystems, allowing biodiversity to provide the ecosystem services that sustain all life on earth.
The subject of conservation of wildlife is a complicated one. The reduction of populations or the extinction of species happens because of habitat loss, climate change, overexploitation, and a whole host of other human-related causes. You can learn more about the need to protect our species here and see some quick facts on the current decline of our species here.
We invite every single person and institution to embrace a new ethic that gives all species a fair opportunity to survive. We need you to join the movement if we hope to be successful in protecting all life on earth! Here are ways you can get involved.
Also, please sign up here if you would like to receive updates on future campaigns to Protect Our Species and new ways in which you can get involved.