This day is celebrated worldwide to give thanks and to appreciate this wonderful planet which is our home. It is also to highlight the ways in which we take the earth for granted and how best to combat this.
This year’s Earth Day’ campaign is to ‘protect our species’, as the world is currently undergoing the greatest rate of extinction of species since the dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago.
However, the rate of extinction is not due to natural causes, but because of human activity.
Ever present in the news and still highly relevant: climate change has been accelerating at an unprecedented rate and is predicted by scientists to be irreversible 12 years from now. If we do not act now and come together to try to encourage our government to talk about climate change with other countries and become carbon free as soon as possible, then we will see a very different and harsh world than we do today.
Young people all over the world have been skipping school to protest about their governments doing nothing to prevent climate change. It should not just be the younger generation that are leading climate change strikes but everyone!
Deforestation has been decimating rain forests around the world, with 7.3 million hectares being lost every year, mostly to illegal logging.
Habitat loss and fragmentation is a great threat, and with the ever-growing human population, the need to build on habitat is becoming greater every year. This in turn cuts off wildlife populations, causing a lack of genetic diversity within isolated populations and forcing species to venture into densely human populated areas. A few generalist species have so far been able to adapt and survive in such a non-natural environment, but many other species are unable to do so.
The illegal wildlife trade is another factor affecting many endangered wildlife species worldwide. Although not so much of a factor in the UK, the western world is a part of the problem. With the use of social media and phones, those selling wildlife illegally advertise them by producing cute and cuddly videos, making people want to purchase them as an unusual, exotic pet.
Pollution and pesticides have also caused the decline in insect species throughout the UK and the world, causing a knock-on impact to the food chains of many ecosystems. The decline of insects in the UK has been a major worry recently. In fact, the UK moth population along has declined by two thirds since 1968. The lack of insects on our windscreens as we drive along our roads is the most obvious indicator of the decrease in insect populations. Our bee populations are also under threat, around 35 species under the threat of extinction. One third of British bees and hoverflies have also experienced declines. Dr Lynn Dicks has discovered that at least 11 species of bee and hoverfly have been disappearing per every square kilometre during 1980 and 2013 in the UK.
If we do not do anything to stop the decline in these species then we will be destroying our own futures on this planet. Food chains are highly delicate and with insects declining at the rate they are, then other species such as birds, reptiles, amphibians and small mammals will also be affected as well as ourselves as we rely on insects to pollinate our plant species.
So, to try and stop this from happening and support your world instead of ignoring it, take a look at the Earth Day website: it has various campaigns that you can be a part of, and tells you how best to try to preserve our planet and protect our species for not only us, but our children and our grandchildren.