The “cry of the wild” can still be heard across this great land. I have heard the bugle of an elk on the Great Plains...the shrill of a bald eagle along the banks of the mightily Mississippi...the roar of a brown eagle bear on windswept tundra...and the gobble of a wild turkey among western foothills. Amazing beauty can still be found in the natural landscapes of this great land. I have seen through televisions, articles, books, and newspapers the towering forests...pristine waters...rich wetlands...wide-open prairies...majestic mountains...and vast deserts alive with color. I am in awe by the complexity and wonder of the natural world. Truly, it is where you can find solace and peace.
America is truly blessed. A land rich in natural resources----our sense of adventure, pioneering spirit, and tenacity. Irving Berlin’s God Bless America, Woody Guthrie’s This Land is Your Land, and Samuel Smith’s America all declare a love and respect for this land we call “home.” It is our duty to regain a love and respect for the land, its beauty, and life ‘s comfort.
The legacy of our natural resource heritage must be preserved. Education is the answer. Through writing my paper I have learned that endangered species is more than a name, it is a mission in-and-of-itself, a mission to keep safe our wildlife---forever.
The earth is home to more than 5.2 billion people, each having certain needs, wants, and desires. The process of consumption drastically changes the natural landscape, an many cases to the wearing away of other species. Consumption transform vast quantities of natural resources, such as fossil fuels and trees, into countless products and mountains of waste. As such, it directly and indirectly impacts land use decisions including wetland drainage, the clearing of forest, mining, agricultural production, and development. Over time, the increasing affect of poor land use, decisions, and reckless use of natural resources have undermined the integrity and to keep up the ability of the natural world, resulting in global environmental reduction. In his book, Earth in the Balance---Ecology and the Human Spirit, Vice President Al Gore writes:
“The disharmony in our relationship to the earth, which stems in part from our addiction to a pattern of consuming ever-larger quantities of the resources of the earth, is now manifest in successive crises, each marking a more destructive clash between our civilization and the natural world: whereas all threats to the environment used to be local and regional, several are now strategic . The loss of one and a half acres of rain forest every second, the sudden, thousand fold acceleration of the natural extinction rate for living species, the ozone hole above Antarctica and the thinning of the ozone layer at all latitudes, the possible destruction of the climate balance that makes our lives livable--all these suggest the increasingly violent collision between human civilization and the natural world.
For civilization as a whole, the faith that is so essential to restore the balance now missing in our relationship to the earth is the faith that we have a future. We can believe in that future and work to achieve it and preserve it, or we can whirl blindly on, behaving as if one day there will be no children to inherit our legacy. The choice is ours; the earth is in the balance.” What is the leading threat to wildlife? What does the word “threatened” mean? What does the word “endangered mean? Does extinction really mean gone forever? What happened to the Bald Eagle?
The words “threatened” and “endangered” are used to describe the status of rare wildlife and plant species. Threatened is used to classify a species with dangerously low population numbers. The bald eagle is an example of a threatened wildlife species. And extinct is used to identify a species that no longer exists or has died out. The dusky seaside sparrow is an example of an extinct wildlife species.
Persistent decline in wildlife populations led Congress to enact the Endangered Species in 1973. The act mandated the federal government to protect endangered wildlife, plant species, and their habitats. Today, there are over 1,000 species protected by the Endangered Species Act. Approximately 50 species are added each year. The loss of any species is cause for great concern. However, extinction occurs naturally as part of the process of evolution. In fact, paleontologists (one who studies the past geological periods) have yet to agree upon what caused dinosaurs to become extinct. Theories include a collision with a massive meteorite or the eruption of a volcano leading to drastic changes in climate conditions. For whatever reason, when one group of animals takes its place. Generally, the “new” species is better suited or adapted to the environment. It may have concealing camouflage or tremendous speed. It may be able to tolerate drought conditions, extreme heat, or cold temperatures. It may benefit from a wide variety of foods instead of a limited few. The adaptability of favorable characteristics and the ability
to survive and flourish is commonly referred to as “survival of the fittest” or “natural selection.” Although extinction occurs naturally over the course of thousands of years and the strongest species, human activity has accelerated the rate of low.
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