The RSPB’s latest newsletter is here. There are features on puffins and swifts, and on garden sunbeds (for nature, not we humans). Meanwhile, the Earth Day Network is asking for help in selecting a theme for 2018. The choice we have is below, and you can click to vote:
Plastics litter our cities and oceans, and growing evidence shows how they contribute to health problems in humans and animals.By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans! Plastic coagulates into great floating “garbage patches” that cover large areas of the Pacific. Plastics wash up on beaches and can be found in the stomachs of more than half the world’s sea turtles and nearly all of its marine birds. If plastic pollution was bagged up and arranged across all of the world’s shorelines, we could build a plastic wall around every shoreline and the sea. This is a problem we can help solve by cleaning up plastic trash, drastically reducing the amount of plastic used and recycling 100% of the rest.
We humans share our planet with at least 50 million species and one recent study said the number could be as high as a trillion. Over 100,000 new species are discovered each year. This vast number of different species called biodiversity directly or indirectly provides all the food that humans eat. Animals and plants depend on each other for food and habitat, too. Only healthy eco-systems can withstand and recover from disaster. So while humans may dominate, we really need to preserve biodiversity in wildlife, too. Studies show that endangered mammals and birds are especially affected by changing climate. Animals on every continent are being affected. Despite knowing about biodiversity’s importance for a long time, human activity has been causing massive extinctions and the current extinction rate is the worst species die-off since the dinosaur extinction 65 million years ago. Ever since the first Earth Day in 1970, we’ve had the US Endangered Species Act to help protect animals and their habitats. We’ve got to keep that strong and do much more.
Extreme weather events are increasing and scientific evidence confirms that these increases are related to human activities. According the US government studies, human-induced climate change has already increased the number and strength of extreme weather events. Heat waves and droughts, are the primary way that most people experience climate change. Over the last 50 years, much of the US and the world has seen increases in prolonged periods of abnormally high temperatures, heavy downpours, and in some regions, severe storms, floods and droughts. Extreme weather causes human injury and death, destroys property and infrastructure, disrupts agriculture and food production, increases poverty and can even cause famine and war.