Now, we have a unique opportunity as human beings: we can interpret these warning signs and make long-term plans for the future. We can begin today to prepare a gift for our own future, and for the future of our descendants. At the very least, we can leave the promise of hope and the courage to try.
It’s a privilege to be distanced from the world’s most pressing environmental issues. Thanks to various socioeconomic and political forces, it’s a privilege that exists only for a few – namely, residents of the developed world’s upper classes.
Of course, many of our fish farms, which often rely on wild-caught “fish meal” themselves, aren’t sustainable either. Like many environmental conundrums, there are no easy answers – yet. Perhaps this latest fishery closure will inspire some.
We need to develop an environmental consciousness that admires sustainability, not consumption, and rewards conservation, not excess. In so doing, we’ll become better caretakers, not just of our sand supply, but also of our planet. Only then can we hope to secure humanity’s survival on Earth.
How, then, can we prevent other species from meeting Lonesome George’s fate? For many of the 11,500 species listed as endangered (or critically endangered) by the IUCN, it may already be too late. Lonesome George, perhaps, would recommend a conservative course: slow and steady, taking each step with caution, steering well clear of that invisible line.
A huge potential reservoir of new medicines is contained in Earth’s biodiversity. So long as we continue to decimate this biodiversity, we will be locked in a losing race against time to catalogue these species and salvage any of their medicinal value before they are lost forever.
At subway stations and bus stops, we’re warned by conductors “mind the gap.” While in those cases, the solution is a short hop from side to side, when it comes to the gap in scientific knowledge, both sides must work to shrink, not simply avoid, it.
Such success stories won’t be echoed everywhere. On a planet with 7 billion humans and counting, wild places are necessarily eroding in the face of human need, despite the activism of conservation interests. For every bird colony fenced by a first world nation, millions of acres of rainforest will be cut down in developing countries. For every bird colony fenced by a first world nation, millions of acres of rainforest will be cut down in developing countries.