It’s official. The rapid and unprecedented extinction of species in our world today – including climate change, deforestation, habitat loss, trafficking and poaching, and unsustainable agriculture — are the result of human abuses. And with this year’s Earth Day, April 22, activists want people across the globe to understand their role in slowing and eliminating (in some cases) the impact of those abuses.
As early as 1953, Keep America Beautiful organized to prevent litter prevention, promote waste reduction and recycling, and to spearhead efforts towards community greening and beautification. In 1971, their campaign helped usher in the first Earth Day, with the theme, “People Start Pollution. People Can Stop It.”
It was this campaign, featuring actor Iron Eyes Cody, as a broken-hearted Native American man observing man-made destruction through pollution, litter and new innovations. Despite those warnings, nearly 50 years ago, we stand at a precipice wherein the largest period of species extinction in the last 60 million years in occurring. Normally, between one and five species goes extinct annually; however, scientists estimate that we are now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times that rate, with multiple extinctions daily.
“The good news is that the rate of extinctions can still be slowed, and many of our declining, threatened, and endangered species can still recover,” says Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network. “If we work together now to build a united global movement of consumers, voters, educators, faith leaders, and scientists, we can demand immediate action.”
Earth Day 2019’s Protect Our Species campaign hopes to galvanize nations to: Educate and raise awareness about the accelerating rate of extinction of millions of species and the causes and consequences of this phenomenon, Achieve major policy victories that protect broad groups of species as well as individual species and their habitats, Build and activate a global movement that embraces nature and its values; and Encourage individual actions such as adopting a plant-based diet and stopping pesticide and herbicide use.
Building on that theme, The Washington Informer celebrates Earth Day by examining some of the crises impacting our city and the amazing organizations and efforts underway to thwart continued abuses of our natural resources. Join us in fighting the good fight for our future, and successive generations.
Read, Learn, Enjoy!