learning as we grow

(click on image to read post) ~

we love our natural environment and enjoy learning about about ways we can individually make better decisions in our daily lives to help improve the health of our planet ~ for all living creatures, including plants + animals. 

while the natural world is full of wonder + beauty, the reality of its health is often stark + alarming.

we would be hard pressed to find anyone who does not appreciate the beautiful splendor of a sunset of fiery red + purple hues hanging low on the horizon, a grand live oak tree with dancing limbs + branches that reach out to embrace us under the shelter of its canopy, a glimpse of a small bird whose feathers are the brightest colors of red, blue, green + yellow + whose songs fill the daylight hours, the peaceful trail that winds us through ancient forests + beside stone-filled creeks, the discovery of a shell now rarely found on the same beach that once offered plenty, the kiss of a butterfly.

we collectively celebrate the environment in many ways + environmental awareness seems to be quite widespread. however, as the following article illustrates, we have much work to do to protect our natural world ~ our wildlife and wild spaces. the article pasted below includes information from a report from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) that states "that, unless quick action is taken, vertebrate wildlife, by the end of the decade, will have decreased by 67 percent since 1970. It is already 58 percent of what it was in 1970. It’s worse for freshwater animals. They have declined by 81 percent in the last four decades." this is simply horrifying + unacceptable. 

with unprecedented growth that has been occurring over the last few decades + a growth rate that is projected to continue increasing, we humans must plan for this growth not only for human habitat but also for wildlife habitat + in a manner that protects the health of our natural environment. we must not continue depleting our natural resources + natural areas that provide food + habitat to wildlife. even ~ and perhaps particularly so ~ in our suburban + urban environments, we need to ensure space is protected + provided for wildlife.

butterflies + migratory birds do not live by manmade boundaries + depend on signs + cues from Mother Nature for migration, food + habitat. as we humans continue to alter the natural landscape, thousands of species are having to adapt to survive. but without habitat for wildlife + sources for food, then what? 

we don't have to plan a trip out into nature to be in nature ~ nature is all around us. we just have to be aware of this truth, embrace it + make sure there's room to let it Be. 

we must discontinue the thinking that our world must be sterile + clear of the natural creatures that are actually performing functions designed by nature that naturally benefit our lives ~ such as bats that eat disease-carrying mosquitoes, frogs + anoles that eat germ-spreading flies, birds that eat the frogs + anoles, vultures ~ the ultimate scavengers ~ that probably prevent the spread of disease by cleaning up large amounts of decaying matter, mushrooms that provide an excellent source of protein + have a wide range of medicinal properties. let's work together to provide all of our wildlife ~ including within our own backyards ~ with clean air, native plantings, clean water + food sources, + suitable habitat. we all need breathing room + space to stretch our arms + wings to thrive.

let us all make conscious, individual choices to protect nature. let's continue educating ourselves about the reality of the state of the natural environment + what we humans can do to help improve it + how we can live a more balanced existence with it, not work against it. let's pull our resources together to support the work of our heroes in conservation + preservation who fight nonstop to further their mission of protecting our natural + cultural environment. let's support our local conservation land trusts that protect + preserve lands, scenic vistas, + natural resources that not only provide valuable habitat for wildlife but also enrich the quality of life for us humans.

this morning, the local newspaper in the Lowcountry region of SC published this opinion piece, + we want to share it with you. 

 

Copied from an Opinion Piece published in The Post and Courier on November 26, 2016

Stop the wildlife decline

The Lowcountry knows all too well the challenges that come with growth: congestion, traffic and overcrowded schools.

But to the world’s wildlife, human population growth is a matter of life or death. And as things are going now, wildlife is on the losing side.

Indeed, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) says that, unless quick action is taken, vertebrate wildlife, by the end of the decade, will have decreased by 67 percent since 1970. It is already 58 percent of what it was in 1970.

It’s worse for freshwater animals. They have declined by 81 percent in the last four decades.

The problem? For one thing, wildlife habitat is being cleared for agriculture to feed the human population, which has grown from about 1.6 billion to more than 7 billion over the last hundred years. That explains why farmland occupies more than a third of the planet’s surface, according to WWF.

People have to eat. But WWF contends that we must employ “an adaptive and resilient food system that provides nutritious food for all.” That’s a tall order, but it’s vital that we work toward it.

Sadly, even with such a food system, wildlife is still in danger due to other threats.

One area where coastal South Carolina is out front is in its commitment to preserving green space. Voters in Charleston County have twice voted to pay more sales tax, in part to ensure that more of the area’s natural assets are protected. Keeping woodlands healthy and free from development helps keep the ecosystem healthy.

Pollution — air and water — can pose serious problems for wildlife, and for people who rely on fresh water and clean air for energy and recreation. And global warming, according to WWF, can force animal populations to move or can lead to their becoming extinct.

Let’s hope that when he becomes president, Donald Trump will switch gears and recognize that global warming is not a hoax and that there is great value in protecting the environment and developing sustainable alternative energy.

Every two years WWF releases data like these after analyzing changes in more than 18,000 wildlife populations composed of nearly 4,000 animal species around the world. Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International, said human actions “are pushing life on our shared planet toward a sixth mass extinction.”

And Johan Rockstrom, executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, said, “We are no longer a small world on a big planet. We are now a big world on a small planet, where we have reached a saturation point.”

It’s a grim report, but it’s important to consider as we set priorities locally and nationally. We ignore the devastating warning signs at our own peril.

End of Article

Sourcehttp://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/editorials/stop-the-wildlife-decline/article_4dc607ea-ac29-11e6-966a-a393bc726679.html