Where do we go from here?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

350 Species We Could Lose

Last Saturday's 350 Day of Climate Action was an international event of some magnitude, garnering attention from TV and print media alike. You can check out photos from actions around the world at the 350.org's collection on flickr.

But this was more than just one day's activity, it's an ongoing effort to draw attention to the seriousness of this situation and motivate world governments and peoples to take effective action to cut carbon emissions before it is finally too late. One of the most striking ongoing demonstrations of what the results of inaction will be can be visited at the Center for Biological Diversity's website. Called 350 Reasons we need to get to 350: 350 Species Threatened by Global Warming, it is a heartrending display of 350 species at risk of extinction by 2050 if current emissions trajectories continue.

350 Reasons contains a link to a petition to President Obama asking him to take a firm resolve for action with him to Copenhagen's international climate negotiations in December, but its strongest aspect is the interactive map of the USA (and I'd certainly like to see one of the rest of the world as well, but I guess we think globally, act locally, okay) divided by region, with photos of the animals in each region which will , without lowering our carbon emissions, be committed to soon and certain disappearance. With a click of your mouse, read about polar bears in Alaska, monk seals in Hawaii, sea otters in California; bone up on Atlantic salmon in the Northeast, sea turtles in Florida, or corals throughout the world — and hundreds of other species around the globe, big and small, iconic and unknown — that we’re hurting through our lethal addiction to fossil fuels. You can even read about one species that stands to be tragically impoverished by the effects of broader species loss: ourselves, Homo sapiens sapiens.

If you're short on time, you can just go to the map and check out your own region and what your children might not see there in the future. Will I miss the chubs and the pupfish? Well, perhaps not personally, but I will sure as hell miss the burrowing owls, the pronghorn antelope, the Mexican gray wolves, yes the "iconic species." Each of these threatened species, large or small, has its place in the environmental chain, no matter how often, how seldom, we personally experience them. Please add your name to the Obama petition at the Center's site, and share this information with your friends and readers.

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