According to a recent UN report, more than one million plant and animal species face extinction as a result of both global warming and human practices such as farming, hunting, fishing, logging, etc.
The New York Times article on the report cites the experts' conclusion that "piecemeal efforts to protect individual species or to set up wildlife refuges will no longer be sufficient. Instead, they call for "transformative changes" that include curbing wasteful consumption, slimming down agriculture's environmental footprint and cracking down on illegal logging and fishing." This means that everyone, consumers and corporations alike, must make changes for the sake of the world's survival.
So, if climate change isn't usually an issue you're concerned about or you need some extra motivation to reduce your waste, keep in mind these ten adorable animals that aren't likely to survive global climate change unless we make drastic changes. Do it for them!
Look at that sweet face! This article lays out the sad history of humans overtaking tigers' natural habitats. Multiple species of tiger, such as the Bengal, Amur, and Indochinese tigers are classified as endangered, according to WWF. The South China tiger and Sumatran tiger are critically endangered.
Giraffes have always been one of my favorite animals, so I may be biased. But it's so sad to think that these beautiful animals might go extinct in my lifetime. Certain species of giraffes are already critically endangered, while many species of giraffes are endangered or vulnerable. This update draws attention to the "silent extinction" of giraffes.
While the monarch butterfly was listed as endangered in 2014, their populations were reassessed in 2018. This June, the US Fish and Wildlife Service will announce the results of that assessment and whether the monarch will appear on the endangered species list again. There is hope here that their numbers may be increasing!
Although Koalas are only categorized as vulnerable on the endangered species list, many people are advocating for Koalas to be listed as critically endangered. Primarily because of habitat destruction, Koala numbers have dropped by over 50%, according to the Australian Koala Foundation.
To me, narwhals seem to be a mysterious creature from far-away places. Interestingly enough, narwhals still live in Arctic waters and are only classified as near threatened. There's still time to save these animals from irreversible extinction!
These guys are so cool! Many sea turtles face tough times as a result of plastic-polluted oceans and a shift in the ocean ecosystems because of climate change. Multiple types of sea turtles, such as the Leatherback turtle and Loggerhead turtle, sit on the endangered species list classified as vulnerable. The green turtle is classified as endangered, while the Hawksbill turtle is critically endangered.
Think Tarzan - how cute is baby Turk? Eastern Lowland and Western Lowland gorillas are critically endangered, and the Mountain gorilla is endangered. These gentle giants are so intelligent and are close cousins to humans. They share human emotions, and it would be heartbreaking to lose such a close relative to our own species.
Oxen are usually thought of as strong and hardy, however, they're no match for climate change. Many ox in regions around the world is critically endangered. This is a bleak reality for the beautiful creatures.
Snow leopards face the threat of habitat decline as humans move into their territory. The populations of their prey are declining, so they end up eating livestock and are often killed because of it. Due to this sad interference of humans in their lives, snow leopards are placed on the endangered species list as vulnerable.
Like many species of fish including salmon, and many types of tuna, cod appear on the endangered species list as vulnerable. Atlantic and polar cod population levels are far below target levels, primarily because of overfishing and climate change. This article predicts that ocean acidification could wipe out two-thirds of cod reproduction.
Of course, these are just ten of the one million species that the UN report predicts will go extinct as a result of climate change. "Nature and its vital contributions to people, which together embody biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services, are deteriorating worldwide," reads the report. We have to work together as nations to save human and non-human species alike. We make up one world, and we're all responsible for its fate.