As the world’s human population grows exponentially, the remaining tracts of wilderness not occupied by humans are shrinking all over the globe, as we all know. The remaining species diversity, as we enter the 6th major extinction of life on the planet, becomes more and more precious. With scarcity and rarity, come the exploitation of poachers and the commodification of the bodies of the animals. Ivory trinkets, Pangolin scales, monkey parts, turtles, frogs, and even some insects like butterflies right here in the US. Avid collectors, believers in what I will loosely call ‘traditional medicine,’ and people willing to sell out the last remaining individuals of any species for profit -they are all working to eradicate nature as you read this.
A man with the familiar name of George Bush, from London, was thankfully brought to justice for selling monkey parts on eBay. The transnational collaboration was required to catch him, and he will face prison time for 14 months. The risk of being caught is often outweighed by the chance to make a quick buck, but many such immoral people do face the music.
In Vietnam, an amazing species of animal called a Pangolin, pictured with a Monarch butterfly above, is disappearing so that somebody somewhere in Asia can think they are getting an actual cure for anything they can think of:
“Fresh scales are never used, but dried scales are roasted, ashed, cooked in oil, butter, vinegar, boy’s urine, or roasted with earth or oyster-shells, to cure a variety of ills. Amongst these are excessive nervousness and hysterical crying in children, women possessed by devils and ogres, malarial fever and deafness.”
What this all comes down to, is that human beings are systematically eradicating what’s left of the world’s diversity, without even factoring in the coming effect of climate change. As concerned, empathetic people, who want to see this trend reversed, what can we do to combat what’s happening, at least in what small part we are capable of? We are all feeling rather helpless when confronted with the news. Realistically, is there some action that one person can take?
Fortunately, there is a lot that we can do, just using our fingertips, from our own homes. There are unlimited openings for volunteer armchair warriors! Technology is our best ally in this fight. To an incalculable degree, our individual efforts to educate ourselves and others on what’s going on with the environment and wildlife can have a ripple effect. As a person who has regularly reached 100,000 people a week from my little blog on Facebook, I am aware of just how powerful each person is when they care enough to make an effort, and to keep at it. So here are a few ideas on what we can do. Stay hopeful, and keep active in the fight to save the world’s remaining wildlife. By so doing, we are working to save our own species.
1. 10 Simple Ways you can help stop poaching today.
2. The World Wildlife Fund is leading a global campaign to stop wildlife crime.
3. Follow Chelsea Clinton, and her efforts to stop elephant poachers.
4. Get involved and do some simple things to save the pangolin.
5. Help stop the disappearance of our Monarch butterflies.
A few ideas. We don’t have to feel overwhelmed. There is so much we can do, and that feeling of hopelessness feels a little less so when we just do a little each day. We obviously can’t prevent it all by ourselves, but collectively, we have more power than we realize. Our buying power as consumers can direct Corporations to make better choices. Our spare change can be pooled together to keep efforts going in the field across the planet. Our voices raised in unison can shape the future. Educating others that caring about animal species is essential to our own survival may curb the current trends. The only option is to try. We owe it to ourselves, and to every living thing on the earth.
Watch the amazing Pangolin in action here: