Voter guide by Melanie Chica, Josue Chavarin, and Emma Bakovic.
There are currently 16,306 endangered species that are threatened with extinction. 99% of these species are at risk due to human activities which have caused habitat loss, climate change, and exotic species introductions. In 1973, the Endangered Species Act was passed, which prohibits the harming, killing, or exporting of endangered species, and requires protection for land and water that are vital for their recovery. This was a huge step in the right direction, as it was an important federal action, which encouraged state programs to be established for their protection, however, the fight should not end here. We as humans must also individually take steps towards protecting our fellow endangered species, which can include reducing your carbon footprint by recycling, buying sustainable products, reducing your water consumption, etc. We should all care deeply about our endangered neighbors, as we all share the earth, and we each play a critical role. When a species goes extinct, especially a ‘buffer species,’ it can send a trophic cascade through the food chain, impacting other species and the ecosystem they inhabit. The disturbance of interactions among the organisms alters their physical and chemical environments, which can in turn cause infectious disease in humans to rise at higher rates, as well as cause depletion of certain goods and materials to occur. We must all take action to protect endangered species, as it can not only save their lives but ours, and the world as a whole.
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