I don’t want this message to be about gloom and despair, but rather about hope. Recently in the news, the Snapping Turtle hunt was cancelled in Ontario. This gives renewed hope to the plight of this threatened species! Many great things are happening, and I thought I’d share some other good news stories that will benefit us and nature.
The West Indian Manatee, the Island Fox and the Giant Panda are no longer on the Endangered Species list, and the Bengal Tiger is making a small but positive comeback. Other species; including the Pangolin, African Gray Parrot, African Elephants, giraffes and several species of sharks, have been given greater protection against traffickers. 250 Orangutans were released back into the wild, after being rehabilitated and/or rescued in Borneo. Five captive-bred Hawaiian Crows were released into the wild, after an absence of several decades. The Hawaiian Yellow-faced Bee complex (seven species) has been protected under the Endangered Species Act, and a similar move is planned for the Rusty-patched Bumblebee, here at home. The Sierra Yellow-legged Frog is holding its own against the deadly chytrid fungus that has been decimating most amphibian populations, and the Desert Tortoise has been given a reprieve thanks to clean energy projects in California.
A coalition called the Ocean Clean-up Project expects to remove 40% of the ocean’s plastic waste, water bottles mostly, by 2027 and is aiming for 100% removal by 2047. China; is moving towards closing about 1,000 smaller coal mines, is reducing its dependence on fossil fuels, and is banning the sale of ivory by this December. Residents of the UK celebrated their first ever “coal-free day”, where all the power was generated without using coal as a fuel source.
Canada has now protected 85% of the Great Bear Rainforest, the world’s largest temperate rainforest. Additionally, 20 countries, including the UK and USA, have created protected marine parks. The largest, in Hawaii, covers over 1.14 million sq. km. India has a new focus on reducing pollution and planted 50 million trees in one day, on July 11/17, an incredible feat! Globally, several governments, such as Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Sumatra and India, are working to reduce fragmented forests to create better habitat for wildlife.
So as you can see, all may not be perfect, but we are moving in the right direction. Wanna help a bit yourself? Well, lots of choices nearby are open to you: join a nature club such as North Durham Nature; help out the Lake Scugog Stewards; support Scugog Township in its bid to reduce phragmites and other invasive species; volunteer at a pet hospital or shelter; plant a pollinator garden; use reusable water bottles; or conserve energy. You can do your part in innumerable ways.
If you don’t have time to get out and do it yourself, consider donating to a good cause. Almost every year, for the past 35 years, I have spent time fund-raising for the birds. Bird Studies Canada sponsors this event, where individuals all over Canada go out and look for birds, over a 24-hour period, and of course collect donations. Last year I saw 174 species of birds in Durham, Carden and Algonquin Park on my ‘Big Day’, as these 24 hour sprees are often called. I’m hoping to beat this number this year!
I raised over $3,600 last year, $800 of which came back to our community, and the balance went to other important global projects that benefited Canadian birds. So if you’d like to donate this year, please email me, at email@example.com, or go online to my personal Birdathon website and make your donation there directly, at http://birdscanada.kintera.org/birdathon/geoffcarpentier.
Whatever you choose to do will be of benefit, so don’t consider your effort to be insignificant, because it never will be! Thanks for caring.
Geoff Carpentier is a published author, ecotour guide and environmental consultant. Visit Geoff on-line, at www.avocetnatureservices.com and on LinkedIn and Facebook.