Amidst all of the discord and chaos going on in American politics, the country seems to be plowing on as best it can. Race relations and reproductive rights are still an issue, and Donald Trump seemed to have a "bro" moment with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a recent press conference this week.
However, the Republicans might be on the hit list for eco-warriors everywhere, due in part of the Senate voting to repeal the Endangered Species Act. Specifically, as pointed out by the Washington Post, Republicans are aiming to "modernize" the legislation, as it creates an unfair situation to landowners in various regions in the United States. Republicans, those evildoers.
To shed some clarification on what the Endangered Species Act does, it was a law passed in 1973, under the Nixon Administration, to protect and preserve the natural resources and wildlife in the United States. Basically, it was a saving grace for plants and animals everywhere. Popular animals have been recognized on the list and have been granted protection under the guidelines under the ESA, such as the gray wolf, whooping crane, and our own beloved mascot, the bald eagle.
According to CNN as well, a lot of the problems that stem from the ESA are that landowners and farmers feel threatened and responsible to care and protect endangered wildlife. What farmers and the like have to do is look at the big picture. It isn't about them, or their crop before it goes to market. It's about the well-being of the planet.
Repealing and changing some of the rules that the ESA outlines would lead to a negative outcome. Let's look at those farmers again. They tend to their crops, which already takes up a large amount of space in the environment. Thereby, you are pushing various species out of their natural habitat. Once you modernize the land, you can possibly replace that natural setting with urban development, factories, and drilling plants for mining and oil.
So, once you push out those species out of their homes, where do they go? Do you just assume they find another home? No, it doesn't work like that with humans. It might be "easy enough" for humans to move, since we can easily lease an apartment or purchase real estate, but if you push out a alligator out of its swamp, will you expect it to waddle into another swamp? Well, maybe, if it can find another swamp that wasn't demolished.
According to an article by YourNewsWire.com, the effects of habitat fragmentation leave once diverse, lush regions into pockets of isolation that are too difficult to register. Once humans remove sections of a jungle or grassland, animals within the undisturbed land are often "landlocked." To them, that jungle was their entire life, as it has been for their past ancestors.
Once their resources have been totally exhausted, they die out. The possibility of being exposed to predators and disease is a factor that many animals encounter. Eventually, the continuation of habitat fragmentation leads to a small gene pool, and can cause extinction of species within a certain region.
Many animals don't have the cognition to move to another home. To humans, the entire world is our universe. But to that alligator, that swamp in the Everglades is it's universe. If that alligator gets evicted, it will be a fish out of water. Now, put that into perspective with many other species. Or, even on a global scale.
Some of the positive effects that the ESA has given is that it has saved well-known species from the edge of extinction. The American bison, which roamed in herds up to the millions in the Great Plains, were hunted for sport and food by American settlers in the 1800's. The bald eagle, our national symbol, was threatened by habitat destruction and DDT poisoning in the 20th century. In 2017, American bison are thundering across Yellowstone National Park, and the bald eagle has been off the list since 2007.
Now, many species have been saved due to the ESA. Outgrowing support from the public has also shown that nature must be preserved at all costs. The American alligator and the California condor are other species that have been saved as well. And they all have had fantastic success stories. So, why go and erase those victories from the record book?