Earth Day can instill interest in environment

‘Protect Our Species’

Isabell Rivera OW Contributor | 4/19/2019, midnight

Earth Day is on April 22. The theme this year is “Protect Our Species” and places a focus on endangered species such as bees, elephants, and sharks just to name a few. You might think, “Bees? Really?” Yes. The little honey-makers are also threatened by climate change, as well as the wide use of pesticides, neonicotinoids, and GMOs. However, pests, diseases, viruses, and mold also have an impact on the lives of bees and their natural way of making honey. We can make a difference however pl;acing more focus on the environment and by urging lawmakers to protect the Endangered Species Act.

Other species, such as elephants, have been an endangered species for decades, thanks to poachers. But elephants--as well as any other animal on Mother Earth--are also impacted by climate change. However, overpopulation by humans can result in habitat loss and puts them much closer to humans, which can lead to more elephant killings. Individuals can help here as well by joining the movement to stop the trade of ivory (China has the biggest market for illegal ivory trade, by the way), but also not participating in any entertainment that involves elephants, such as circuses, or back riding in zoos or tourist destinations, which can help extend their lives..

Since “Jaws” made its debut in the late ‘70s, sharks, especially Great Whites, don’t have a great reputation. Yes, sharks are the top predator in the ocean, but they are important for the marine ecosystem by providing balance. And although shark-attacks are rare, an average of 100 million sharks were killed each year, between the years 2000 and 2010. Hunting and finning are the number one deaths of sharks, followed by losing habitat due to climate change as well, or becoming “bycatch” which means they accidentally get caught when fishers bottom trawl tightly-woven mesh nets, that are thrown onto the bottom of the sea. It’s also one of the worst ways to catch fish. In order to protect the sharks, reducing plastic usage is one of the biggest factors, as well as to boycott the finning and hunting of sharks.

Since 1970, Earth Day has been celebrated globally to make environmental change. Earth Day is a movement that connects the world’s leaders in politics, scientists, and environmental activists to raise awareness, and act now in order to prevent catastrophic climate related issues in the near future.

This yearly recognition of our environment has come a long way, leading to historic worldwide cooperation such as the Paris Accords signed by 194 countries and took full effect in 2016. Yet, some countries--including the United States--are still not on the same page. According to a 2017 New York Times article, the United States has opted to walk away from certified evidence that climate change is a real threat to the wellbeing of all nations.

“...the United States has been burning coal, oil and natural gas far longer, and today the country, with just over four percent of the world’s population, is responsible for almost a third of the excess carbon dioxide that is heating the planet.”