Earth Day 2019 how to get involved
Earth Day 2019 is the 49th Earth Day! On April 22, 1970, millions of people took to the streets to protest the negative impacts of 150 years of industrial development.
Earth Day is now a global event each year, and today on Earth Day 2019 more than 1 billion people in 192 countries are taking part in what is the largest civic-focused day of action in the world. Earth Day is coordinated by the Earth Day Network which decides on the theme each year.
It is a day of political action and civic participation. People march, sign petitions, meet with their elected officials, plant trees, clean up their towns and roads. Corporations and governments use it to make pledges and announce sustainability measures.
The theme for Earth Day 2018 was End Plastic Pollution.
Earth Day 2019: Protect Our Species
Human beings have irrevocably upset the balance of nature and, as a result, 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 in our world today is the result of human activity.
The unprecedented global destruction and rapid reduction of plant and wildlife populations are directly linked to causes driven by human activity: climate change, deforestation, habitat loss, trafficking and poaching, unsustainable agriculture, pollution and pesticides to name a few. The impacts are far reaching.
If we do not act now, extinction may be humanity’s most enduring legacy.
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 if we work together now to build a united global movement of consumers, voters, educators, faith leaders, and scientists to demand immediate action.
Earth Day 2019 Goals
For Earth Day 2019, Earth Day Network is asking people to join our Protect our Species campaign. Our goals are 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.
- Encourage individual actions such as adopting plant based diet and stopping pesticide and herbicide use.
To help you take actions for Earth Day 2019, here are some tools that will help towards our goals.
1. Earth Day 2019 Fact Sheet: Global Species Decline
The world is facing a mass extinction of species. All species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, arthropods (insects and arachnids), fish, crustaceans, corals and other cnidarians, and plants have declined, in many cases, severely. Human civilization has had a negative impact on most living things.
|Fact #1||We are amidst the largest period of species extinction in the last 60 million years. Normally, between one and five species will go extinct annually. However, scientists estimate that we are now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the normal rate, with multiple extinctions daily. Multiple species will disappear before we learn about them or the benefits they bring to our planet. |
|Fact #2||A new study has suggested that insect populations have decreased by more than 75% in Germany over the last 28 years. This is very alarming: 80% of wild plants rely on bees and other insects for pollination, and 60% of bird species rely on insects for food. |
|Fact #3||Habitat destruction, exploitation, and climate change are driving the loss of half of the world’s wild animal population. |
|Fact #4||Primates, our closest animal relatives, are under extraordinary threat. Close to 60% of the world’s 504 primate species are threatened with extinction, and 75% of our primate species are in severe population decline. |
|Fact #5||Worldwide, more than 650,000 marine mammals are caught or seriously injured by fishing gear annually. |
|Fact #6||In the past 20 years, around 75% of all toothed whale species, such as dolphins, porpoises, and 65% of baleen whale species (humpback, blue), and 65% of pinniped species (sea lions) have been affected through bycatch in fishing operations globally. |
|Fact #7||40% of the world’s bird species are in decline, and 1 in 8 is threatened with global extinction. |
|Fact #8||Our big cats, including tigers, leopards, and cheetahs are in critical decline, and many will become extinct in the next decade. The world’s cats are exploited for their body parts and skins. China remains the world’s largest market for these critically endangered species along with the black rhino and other species. |
|Fact #9||Lizard populations are especially vulnerable to climate change. A recent study projects that if the current decline in lizard populations continues, 40% of all lizard species will be extinct by 2080. |
|Fact #10||The American Bison once numbered in the millions and roamed from Alaska to Mexico. They now occupy less than one percent of their original habitat. Their existing habitat is so small and tightly controlled that surviving bison have been compared to herded cattle. |
Earth Day 2019 – Take Action
In order to take action to protect species, the world’s governments, scientists, and conservation organizations need a system to identify species that are under threat and define the seriousness of the threat they are facing. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the global authority on the conservation status of species. It has developed a list, “The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species”, which is updated on an ongoing basis.
IUCN classifies species status in the following categories:
• EXTINCT (EX)
• EXTINCT IN THE WILD (EW)
• CRITICALLY ENDANGERED (CR)
• ENDANGERED (EN)
• VULNERABLE (VU)
• NEAR THREATENED (NT)
• LEAST CONCERN (LC)
• DATA DEFICIENT (DD)
To join the global movement and help make dynamic policy change, get involved with the IUCN here
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