Thousands and billions of years ago, there occurred a big bang, say some!!! And hence came into creation this magnificent planet, that we call earth. Slowly this huge massive ball of blowing heat cooled down and became such that it can sustain life. From a single celled organism, there evolved other organisms, adapting and […]
Thousands and billions of years ago, there occurred a big bang, say some!!! And hence came into creation this magnificent planet, that we call earth. Slowly this huge massive ball of blowing heat cooled down and became such that it can sustain life. From a single celled organism, there evolved other organisms, adapting and diversifying into land, water and air. The world was thus distributed to many species. Over time species learned to adapt better, they adapted through evolution and the fittest survived. But one species in particular, outgrew the rest. These were the humans. Today they live on this planet like they own it. With the advantage of thoughts that they think to possess over the others, they live like they are the sole living being on this earth.
The rule of nature states that living species would have to adapt to the changes that occur around the world, because changes will remain constant. They would have to be tough and would have to go through harsh variations. But what the smart humans did is, they slightly twisted the rule. They realized that changes are constant and they can’t stop them from occurring, so they controlled the changes. Today the world continues to change, but we manipulate these changes. We change things such that, everything gets comfortable for us. If it gets too sunny and the weather gets hot, we instantly move indoors and switch on the air conditioner to feel comfortable. If our food needs to be stored for a longer time, we refrigerate it. If we need to travel, we use cars. All of these things emit out undesirable products like Freon, carbon dioxide, etc, which continue to provide comfort to us but disrupt the world outside our tiny comfort bubble. In today’s world, we don’t need to adapt, but the world around us needs to adapt according to us, to survive. Yet most species aren’t able to adapt and adjust to the world which is now a product of pollution, global warming, natural disasters, forest encroachments, etc. So what happens when species can’t live with these man-made stresses? Sadly, they get endangered and extinct.
What are extinct and endangered species?
Extinction as defined by the Oxford dictionary is the act of being extinct and having no living members. While, endangered species are defined as those species of animal or plant that are seriously at a risk of extinction.
Considering only animals, to get just a basic idea of how they are being affected in terms of extinction and endangering. For the sake of convenience, let’s divide them into two groups:
Animals on the edge: these are those animals that are endangered. They are soon depleting in number but they haven’t vanished from the face of this earth yet. With these animals, nature is giving us a second chance, a chance to revive these species. According to the WWF species directory, the following species are critically endangered:
1) Rhino- The Black, Javan, Sumatran
2) Gorilla- The Mountain Gorilla, The West Lowland Gorilla, The Cross River Gorilla
3) Turtle- The leatherback Turtle, The Hawksbill Turtle, The GreenTurtle, The loggerhead Turtle
4) Leopard – Snowleopard, Amur Leopard
6) Tiger- South China Tiger, Sumatran Tiger ,Amur Tiger ,Bengal Tiger
7) Yangtze Finless Porpoise
9) Sumatran Orangutan
10) Sumatran Elephant
These species, in particular, are in need of urgent help. Their numbers are decreasing drastically.
Animals off the edge: These are animals that have completely disappeared from our planet. Their existence is no more evident. Animals that have not been spotted for the past 50 years are listed as extinct. Extinction is a part of evolution, as Darwin said it best, “survival of the fittest”. Therefore, lots of species have become extinct since the birth of this planet. But the most recent ones have a different reason to get extinct. To list a few:
1) The golden toad –
This beautiful species with a bright fluorescent golden color got extinct in about the 1989.These magnificent creatures where once found in the high altitudes of Costa Rica. Scientists have found that pollution and global warming might be probable reasons for their extinction. They were found to be the only species of toads with such a brilliant color and today we don’t have the privileged of seeing even one of these.
2) The Zanzibar Leopard-
The extinction of this species was the outcome of human beliefs. This particular species of Leopards where found in the Zanzibar Archipelago, as suggested by the name. They basically came to be extinct because of horrendous and unreasonable traditional beliefs that the communities believed blindly. The local community of humans residing around them thought of them as evil and owned by witches, so they launched out a campaign to entirely remove their existence. As a part of the campaign, they were hunted down by the national and local hunters. Zoologists and researches tried to save this through conservation Acts but by then it seemed too late. Records of tracking and analyzing to look for a single sign of their existence was carried out until as recent as 2002, but all efforts seemed futile; nature had given in, to human dis-beliefs.
3) Po’ouli –
As exotic as it sounds, The Po’ouli was a part of the Hawaiian heritage once. With the lush green and the mild blue, Hawaii is one of the most bio diverse patches of land on earth. But in spite of this, it has faced a lot of extinctions. Records of fossils show that Hawaiians lost more than 82 species over the course of time. This bird was also called the black-faced honey creeper or the black –faced hill robin. The last 3 of this beautiful songbird where found in the forests of Hawaii in 2003.These birds were so rare and highly valued that search teams were sent into the forests to track them and captivate them for breeding. In spite of repeated attempts, the US Fish and Wildlife Services could not revive the birds back into the wild. On the 26th of November 2004, the Hawaiian’s had to say Aloha to a rare part of their forests, as the last bird of this genus and species demised in the cage.
There are lots of more beautiful and extremely rare species that we have lost in the past. The problem is, we are at the threat of losing millions of more such beings. What records we have till this date, are just a minute percentage of the extinctions that are actually occurring.
So, now that we have clearly established the fact that yes the species of this planet need help, we need to move on to how exactly do we this? How do we save plants and animals from getting endangered and extinct?
There are simple things that we as individuals can do to contribute our bit.
1) First and foremost we need to develop a small space in our hearts that cares for nature. Once this is done we have reached half way to our goal. Because as soon as we start caring, we shall naturally start taking actions towards protection.
2) We can do basic activities and changes in lifestyles. Simple things like burning calories in place of fuel, growing plants and trees to turn our blue planet into green and thinking of other innovative ideas by ourselves to make changes.
3) We need to spread the word. Most people are unaware of the repercussions of their activities. As informed and careful earthlings, it is our duty to tell others about how they are impacting the world.
Well that’s it! It is really that simple. If we do just these three things with complete sincerity we will succeed together in saving our little home in this giant and scary universe.
In reality, humans are a large population of people with a huge variety of opinions and thoughts. Just like how there are two sides to a coin, some think positive while others think negative. The negative bunch is surprisingly larger. Sometimes they are be-fooled to think that, there are millions of species and how should it matter if a few die? Firstly, every species has its own value, a particular role it plays in the ecosystem. When a certain species gets extinct, it begins a chain of extinctions. This is also called the “domino effect” by many scientists. All species are connected and hence their existence is vital. If humans want to be selfish or self-less, either way it is essential for us to protect each and every species to maintain the natural balance.
The fact that humans are supreme to all will only be established once the earth is shared rightly with all the living beings that exist. Because with power comes responsibility. If we call ourselves the mighty brains, then we might as well act like we have brains. It is up to us, whether we ruin the lives of these friends of ours or make it a better place for everyone. If we become selfish, at this point, we would still have to protect this species. In the true sense, the key to surviving on earth is surviving together. If all species, other than humans, get extinct, then humans are doomed to get extinct too. Now to this, some might say that Karma goes a full circle. But the fact is, that everything on this lovely planet that we call home, is linked. We and all the other things and species that are here, are all linked, some way or the other. The sooner we realize this, the faster we save ourselves from the end of this fantastic story.
So, wake up! Be a part of the cool gang, the gang that “saves the earth”. If we don’t work our bit in stopping this end from coming, then the day won’t be far, when our children might have to go to museums to see trees, dogs, cats, etc that are abundantly a part of a happy childhood.
The act of destroying nature is irreversible, so put your hand forward. Stop it now!