Endangered Species, Habitat Destruction, and Deforestation

March 17, 2017
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If you’ve ever been on a hike in the woods, or on a bike ride even, you probably have noticed all of the lush, green plants and heard the birds chirping and the squirrels chittering and chattering, but what if the next time you went on a bike ride, you didn’t see all of that? The only thing you saw was vast expanses of ripped up trees and dirt, and not a bird, squirrel, or any other animals of any sort for as far as the eye can see. Sadly, though, this horrible nightmare may soon become reality. People are destroying habitats and killing animals all across the world, all just for money and greed, and people are doing nothing to stop it. Without our help, animals and plants all over the world will go extinct. People need to turn on the green light and go do something about these poor species, and we can’t save them without your help.

In our thriving, new world, people are creating new things and building new buildings, which makes our civilization move forward and become more advanced, but sadly, mother Earth's civilization is crumbling and getting destroyed. In fact,  according to Endangered Earth,"There are now 41,415 species on the IUCN Red List, and 16,306 of them are endangered species threatened with extinction. This is up from 16,118 last year." For example, Red Pandas are, in my opinion, are one of the cutest things EVER!, but they may soon become extinct due to habitat destruction and illegal poaching, but this could easily be prevented if people do more to protect these beautiful creatures. For example, if we put a small amount of these endangered species in a conservation center, they would be protected from illegal poachers and unwanted predators. They could reproduce and rebuild the population. "The total number of extinct species has reached 785 and a further 65 are only found in captivity or in cultivation. In the last 500 years, human activity has forced over 800 species into extinction.” How did we become so blind to this disgusting fact? We have been to wrapped up in making money by cutting down trees, destroying habitats, and laying highways across miles of animals homes. The same thing is happening in other countries to, and matter of factly, the top 6 countries according to population are in the top 10 for endangered species. Random coincidence? I think not. According to Scientific American, "The United States is home to 1,278 species at risk of extinction — the second-highest count worldwide". This shows that the United States, as one of the most advanced countries in the world, is causing species to become endangered and sadly maybe even extinct. While countries thrive and get wrapped up in money, animals left and right are getting killed 1 by 1. I believe that this is a problem that must be stopped to every extent and people should do more to protect these precious creatures.


On planet Earth, "Forests still cover about 30 percent of the world’s land area." If you do the math, with the 70% of the world that is covered in water, that is nearly 100% of the world that is covered in forest and water. But sadly, "swaths half the size of England are lost each year." That' 25,173 square miles per year, and 251,730 square miles every decade, and after one century, that would be 2,517,300 square acres of forest. Gone. This would not only kill millions of trees, it would kill millions of animals and their homes. In fact, at this rate of destruction, "The world’s rain forests could completely vanish in a hundred years." If the rainforests AND all the other forests in the world disappear, it would almost certainly mean the end of the human race as we know it. "Trees also play a critical role in absorbing the greenhouse gases that fuel global warming. Fewer forests means larger amounts of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere- and increased speed and severity of global warming." This is one of the most shocking and absurd facts I've ever heard. If we don't do anything about it, this horrible nightmare could become reality. But thankfully people are doing something about it. In fact, 800,000 people in India planted 50 MILLION TREES in one day, blasting the last record into oblivion. If we do more things like this, we can maintain Earth's balance with nature and 1,000's of trees and animals would be saved.

One of the only things we people think about is money. We are always trying to get as much as we can and are always trying to have enough to live with. But some people are much to wrapped up in the storm of getting money; they would do anything, and I mean ANYTHING, to get money. They would even break laws, and that's one of the main reasons animals are going extinct. People are mindlessly cutting down tree after tree after tree, but not caring about the aftermath. According to the National Wildlife Federation, "Scientists estimate that up to one-third of U.S. species are at increased risk of extinction, and more than 1,300 U.S. plants and animals already have been federally listed as threatened or endangered and protected under the Endangered Species Act." This fact shows that since we have been driven by greed, we have caused animals and plants to go extinct and endangered, but if we did more to protect the species of Earth, like "Defending and strengthening the Endangered Species Act, Holding federal agencies and others accountable for complying with laws protecting rare and endangered species, or Protecting and restoring the habitats",   this number would have been cut to a fraction of what it is now. If we plant trees instead of cut them down, or if we embraced nature instead of destroyed it, planet Earth would be cleaner, safer, and would be much better for the animals and plants.

While animals are being killed all across the world some people believe that people aren't paying enough attention to the dying and suffering humans all across the world. "When reports of animal victimization reach the news, they seem to overshadow traumas and tragedies that befall human beings. Not a month passes, it seems, without at least one story of some act of animal cruelty followed by hundreds if not thousands of people denouncing it." While people all over the world are getting attacked by criminals or are barely scraping by in poverty, people are spending all of their money and time trying to save one species of animal, instead of saving fellow people. Instead of spending all of our money and effort on animals, people should be saving each other. While this is a valid argument, I believe otherwise. While others think that people are putting money and time towards just animals, a study by Northeastern University shows that "To find out, we had 240 students at the school where we teach, Northeastern University, read one of four fictitious news stories that depicted either a puppy, an adult dog, a human infant or a 30-year-old human being severely beaten with a baseball bat. The students were then asked to rate how much sympathy and distress they felt for the assault victim. Our results revealed a more complicated picture than assumed. Age, rather than species, seemed the primary influence on the reactions." This shows that it is not just the animals we care about, it is the age that we care about, and that is why people tend to care for animals a lot; because they are young, innocent creatures who need to be cared for, just like babies and young infants.  


Planet Earth is a place filled with amazing creatures and wonderful species, but sadly some of them are going extinct and it's all our fault. The Huffington Post did an article on extinction, and the results said   " We are presently losing dozens of species every day, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. Nearly 20,000 species of plants and animals are at a high risk of extinction and if trends continue, Earth could see another mass extinction event within a few centuries." Another mass extinction? Thanks to us? It's like we are the asteroid hurtling towards Earth and all the animals are the dinosaurs, and they can't run anywhere and they all become extinct, and the only things that is left are the pieces of the asteroid scattered across Earth. (Us.) If we keep destroying habitats and slapping up new highways and cities left and right, species will keep going extinct, and mother nature as we know it will disappear. Take the Passenger Pigeon for example. "The passenger pigeon may have once constituted 25 to 40 percent of the bird population in what is now the U.S., according to the Smithsonian Institution. As many as 3 to 5 billion of these birds were alive when Europeans arrived." Passenger pigeons were once one of if not the most biggest bird population wise, but now they are dead since we hunted them down and chopped up their homes, which lead to the killing of 3-5 BILLION Passenger Pigeons. If we lost 3-5 BILLION people, that would be half of Earth's population flushed down the drain. But have we learned our lesson after killing not thousands, not millions, but BILLIONS of birds? No. We keep on killing and destroying and killing and destroying until poof. There are no more crickets chirping at night, no more deers living in your neighborhood, and not a single tree in what is now the barren wasteland called Earth. If we don't stop these heinous acts of cruelty before it's to late, all animals and people too will go extinct, but if we work together and rebuild mother nature, we can save the world and we would all be super heroes.  


As said earlier in the essay, I believe that people should do more to protect animals. We will have to create conservation centers to protect animals from dangerous outside forces like illegal poachers and invasive species, we will start cracking down on illegal poachers and will return invasive species back to their home, and we'll work to stop the destruction of habitats. By doing these very important tasks, we can help keep mother nature alive and make sure Earth thrives thanks to us, not dies thanks to us.

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