Wednesday, September 26, 2007

IUCN 2007 Red List: The Conservation Status of Animals and Plants (Environmental News and Information)

A couple weeks ago, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) released their 2007 Red List of Threatened Species (news link here). IUCN is the largest international environmental information network, composed of many states/nations/countries, NGOs, government agencies, and conservation scientists. Their Red List is one of the most respected and comprehensible resources available on biodiversity and the conservation status of flora (plants) and fauna (animals). The news is not looking good: 188 more species were added to the list this year, bumping up the total of species threatened with extinction to 16,306 species, and 41,415 species now listed. According to IUCN: 25% of mammals, 1/8th of birds, 1/3rd of amphibians, and 70% of plants (known species) are now in danger. For the first time corals have been added to the list (corals are like the ‘rainforests of the ocean’; a high concentration of marine life lives around or near the coral reefs) and they think that the Yangtze River Dolphin (whose status is listed as critically endangered) may possibly be extinct.

Li’s FAQ:

What are some of the causes of population degradation?

A few environmental issues that may affect species biodiversity include habitat encroachment and degradation, urban development, deforestation, global warming/climate change, invasive/exotic/non-native species, lack of available prey, chemical discharge, and pollution.

What are some of the things people can do to help species and the environment?

-donate to your favorite environmental or conservation organization (like IUCN)
-volunteer at your favorite environmental or conservation organization
-donate to colleges/universities (and support grad school level research in these topics)
-support local environmental issues
-write to your local congressmen to let them know your viewpoints on the environment
-buy/consume less
-but when you need to buy something, use eco-friendly products (or at least higher quality products that can be reused or that last longer)
-for food/plants/herbs: buy organic or ethically harvested plants (healthier for you, less chemicals that poison wildlife and the Earth, and it's sustainable)
-drive a more fuel efficient car or take public transportation (to reduce carbon emissions that contribute to global warming)
-plant native/local trees or a wildlife habitat/garden in your yard to attract and provide a home for small mammals, birds, butterflies, and other wildlife

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