I’m an animal lover. I always have been and I love whether I get to be in person with them or see them on TV or in a book or news story. I have a strong preference for dogs, but I do love all animals. I enjoy seeing them do what they do naturally in nature as well as the ways that they face and interact with the things we humans have created in the world. There does seem to be a disconnect between our needs and theirs, and our respect of their lives and their way of living, one that’s creating a crisis for them and their future.
In 1973 the Endangered Species Act was established to raise awareness about the millions of animals around the world that are at risk, threatened or endangered, and also do whatever is possible to help avoid extinction for them. Sadly some animals have gone extinct, although there are enough hidden corners still in our world that it’s possible that one day some of them may reappear and that they’re not actually extinct, just so rare they aren’t able to be found by humans.
So here’s the thing. I’m not a scientist, I can’t tell you exactly the scientific or ecological reasons that we need to have these animals on the planet, what their role is in keeping all of us alive and keeping our planet functioning as it does. But I can tell you that people have done the research and they have followed the path from the small insects to the big cats and everything in between and beyond, and they’ve shown that our lives and world would be very different if they weren’t here.
But the reason that I support and cheer for endangered species is because of how magnificent they are, how fully they live their lives and how much joy they bring to my life when I see them. I’m thankful for the men and women who are out there setting trap cameras so we can catch a glimpse of them, and especially fighting against the unnecessary and insensitive human takeovers. Everyone dies at some point in time, but I would hate to be the one who helped cause the death of an animal or a species just because I’m alive. I don’t think it’s a trade off, us vs. them, but I do think we need to be more conscious about the impact that our lives and choices have on theirs.
On this Endangered Species Day I encourage you to not only stand up for the important plants and animals of our world, but also to celebrate them. Which one or ones are your favorite?