Observing Endangered Species Day 2023: May 19th

Every year on the third Friday in May, people worldwide come together to observe Endangered Species Day. This global day of action, founded by David Robinson and the Endangered Species Coalition in 2006, aims to raise awareness, foster learning, and encourage efforts to protect threatened and endangered species. In 2023, we celebrate the 18th annual Endangered Species Day and commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This pivotal legislation solidified our national commitment to conserving the diverse array of life on our planet.

Endangered Species Day serves as a platform for wildlife refugees, schools, libraries, museums, community groups, nonprofits, and individuals to organize special programs and events. Through these activities, participants gain knowledge, engage in conservation initiatives, and honor the significance of the ESA’s half-century milestone.

On this day, as we commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the ESA, it is crucial to reflect on the interconnectedness between our actions and the plight of endangered species. Amidst the celebrations and educational initiatives, let us recognize the profound impact of increased carbon in the atmosphere on these vulnerable species. Carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas resulting from burning fossil fuels for energy production and transportation, has emerged as a significant contributor to climate change and global warming. This link between rising CO2 levels and the endangerment of species highlights the urgent need for collective action to mitigate the threats posed by our changing environment.

Climate change has a range of adverse effects on ecosystems and biodiversity, leading to habitat loss and degradation, altered patterns of rainfall and temperature, rising sea levels, and more frequent extreme weather events. These changes can significantly impact various species, including those already classified as endangered or at risk.

Here are some of the ways in which increased carbon in the atmosphere can affect endangered species:

Habitat Loss: Rising temperatures and changing precipitation patterns can disrupt ecosystems and lead to the loss or degradation of habitats critical for the survival of many species. For example, some species of plants and animals that are adapted to specific temperature ranges or rely on particular climate conditions may struggle to survive in altered environments.

Altered Migration Patterns: Many species rely on specific migration patterns following seasonal changes in temperature and food availability. Climate change can disrupt these patterns, affecting the ability of species to find suitable breeding grounds, food sources, or wintering habitats. This disruption can have severe consequences for endangered migratory species.

Increased Extinction Risk: Endangered species already face numerous threats to their survival. Climate change acts as an additional stressor, exacerbating existing challenges. Species already on the brink of extinction may struggle to adapt or migrate fast enough to cope with changing conditions, increasing their risk of extinction.

Coral Bleaching: Rising ocean temperatures due to climate change can cause coral bleaching, where coral reefs expel the symbiotic algae in their tissues, turning them white. Coral reefs provide crucial habitats for a vast array of marine species, and the loss of these ecosystems can have far-reaching consequences for the biodiversity of marine environments.

Range Shifts and Competition: As the climate changes, species may need to shift their ranges to find suitable conditions. This can lead to changes in species composition and interactions, including increased competition between endangered species and other species that have moved into their original habitats.

Let’s come together on Friday, May 19th, and throughout May to celebrate Endangered Species Day and take action to reduce our carbon footprint.


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