Note: This was originally written for the Ohlone Elementary School newsletter, the Ohlone Arrow in Palo Alto, CA.
We share the Earth with a fascinating web of life that includes from 3 to 30 million species of animals, from roundworms to birds, polar bears to sea turtles, ants to grasshoppers. Yet humans can and do disturb the balance of nature that we are called on to protect. Why should we protect other animals?
Diversity, or more specifically, biodiversity, is the variety in life forms that might save your life or the life of another. Plants and animals has the right to exist for no other reason than life itself. But there are reasons, it is in the direct interest of humans to protect other species. Because we cannot predict which form of life can cure diseases or solve other life-threatening problems, maintaining diversity in life forms might be the best way assure a healthy environment. The Pacific yew, a tree, for example, is the base for Taxol, a new anti-cancer drug.
How can we help plants and our fellow animals?
1. Email, write, or call your Congressional representative (Rep. Anna Eshoo, Sen. Feinstein, Sen. Boxer), President, and others to support a strong clean energy and climate change bill.
2. Plant a tree.
3. Eat less meat and eat more alternative sources of proteins (nuts, beans, vegetables). Meat, especially some fast food burgers, come from cattle that are grown where Amazon rainforests once stood. Eating less meat or no meat can help slow down climate change.
4. Support organizations that encourage conservation like the World Wildlife Fund, Sierra Club, and Acterra.
For more information about how to help, see these sites: