May 19

National Endangered Species Day
Reflection

This is a day to consider the dwindling populations of certain animals and plants and work together to help save them. Each species no matter how small has an important role to play in the larger life community. The ecosystems of which each is a part took many hundreds of years to develop. If any species becomes endangered it creates an imbalance in the ecosystem.  Animals and plants cannot speak for themselves and for that reason we need to protect them. They have an intrinsic value separate from any value they have to humans and are worthy of moral consideration. The National Endangered Species Act of 1973 provided rules and regulations for the protection of endangered species. Unfortunately, in 2019, the present administration revised the rules.  The revisions weaken protections for threatened species, and allow federal agencies to conduct economic analyses when deciding whether to protect a species. The question is: should humans have ultimate authority over which animals live and die?

Although it is important to take a day to think about, treasure, and hope to save individual species, one day is inadequate.  We need to deepen an awareness of the interconnectedness of all creation. Earth is our common home. We all have a right to be here. A life is a life and it should be valued, no matter who’s it is.

Prayer

In God’s hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all humankind.
Job 12:10

Action

Choose a charitable organization dedicated to conserving endangered species and make a donation. Support laws that protect endangered species and that preserve our environment. If you can, plant trees and flowers especially garden flowers for bees and butterflies. Educate yourself about this using videos available on YouTube.

Suggested Reading

In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety.
Hosea 2:18

Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species that we will never know — that our children will never see because they have been lost forever. The great majority become extinct for reasons related to human activity. Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence nor convey their message to us. We have no such right.
Pope Francis, Laudato Si

We might summarize our present human situation by the simple statement: that in the 20th century, the glory of the human has become the desolation of the Earth and now the desolation of the Earth is becoming the destiny of the human.
Thomas Berry

Sometimes a species is no longer considered endangered when its population rebounds to the point of consisting of a few dozen members. I wonder what status would be assigned to Homo sapiens if its population consisted of only a few dozen members.
Daniel Miller

What we most need to do is to hear within us the sound of the Earth crying.
Thich Nhat Hanh

We are the earth, made of the same stuff; there is no other, no division between us and “lower” or “higher” forms of being.
Estella Lauder

We’re in the process of bringing about the extinction of all of the species we most care about — including our own.
Alex Miller

Let’s stop fighting over who we believe created the planet, and work together against those that choose to destroy it.
Jack Barker

We take habitat away from wild animals and then kill them for invading ‘our’ space.”
Patrick Edwards

I’m always pushing for human responsibility. Given that chimpanzees and many other animals are sentient and sapient, we should treat them with respect.
Jane Goodall

The world of life, of spontaneity, the world of dawn and sunset and starlight, the world of soil and sunshine, of meadow and woodland, of hickory and oak and maple and hemlock and pineland forests, of wildlife dwelling around us, of the river and its wellbeing–all of this is the integral community in which we live.
Thomas Berry

 

Note:

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists more than 23,000 plant and animal species threatened with extinction on its Red List, including corals, birds, mammals and amphibians. But the scientists behind the list acknowledge that the number only represents a fraction of the likely number of threatened species, as researchers do not have capacity to assess all the potential threats.

Some of the endangered species include –Gorillas. Amur Leopard, Sea Turtle, Orangutan, Sumatran Elephant, Tiger, Rhinoceros, Pangolin, Western Prairie Fringed Orchid.

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