Every year, at least 10,000 species go extinct—and once they’re gone, there gone forever. Many of us work to help endangered species by shopping for recycled products, donating to conservation groups, and sharing information about deforestation—which are all great—but there’s one simple action that could help every single animal on the planet: going vegan. Read below to find out about some of the world’s most endangered animals and how you can help them:
- Polar Bears: Now the poster child for climate change, polar bears are losing habitat by the second. Why? Well, rising temperatures and sea levels are negatively impacting polar bear habitat, and a leading contributor to greenhouse gases, which cause global warming, is animal agriculture. According to United Nations reports, raising animals for food is one of the largest sources of carbon-dioxide emissions and the single largest source of methane and nitrous-oxide emissions. The U.N. has urged people to move toward a vegan diet in order to combat climate change, and time is running out for the polar bear. The time to act is now.
- Bluefin Tuna: In recent years, some populations of bluefin tuna have dropped more than 96 percent because of overfishing. It’s not just bluefin tuna, though: Scientists estimate that by the year 2048, all fish stocks on the planet will have totally collapsed because of overfishing. No more viable fish in the sea is something many of us will see in our lifetimes, and it’s a terrifying prospect.
- Giant Pandas: Pandas are running out of room—and quickly. Increased agriculture to feed animals raised for an increasingly carnivorous human diet is encroaching on the giant panda’s natural habitat from all sides. According to scientists at the Smithsonian Institution, the equivalent of seven football fields of land is bulldozed every minute to create more room for farmed animals and the crops that feed them. Captive breeding programs mask themselves as conservation efforts, but with no habitat to return to, pandas who are bred in captivity are condemned to spend their entire lives confined by the walls of zoos around the world.
- Every Animal in the Amazon: According to Greenpeace, all the wild animals and trees in more than 2.9 million acres of the Amazon rain forest in Brazil were destroyed in the 2004–2005 crop season in order to grow crops that are used to feed chickens and other animals on factory farms. It’s not just the Amazon, though: Forests, wetlands, mangroves, and so much more are being leveled for the very same reasons. According to the United Nations, raising animals for food (including land used for grazing and to grow feed crops) now uses a staggering 30 percent of the Earth’s land surface.
Posted by Edwina Baier