According to a new study, current extinction rates are up to a thousand times higher than they would be if people weren’t in the picture. (National Geographic News)
Use our resources to learn more about extinction and endangerment.
- Jonathan Trouern-Trend, the Army veteran described at the beginning of the Nat Geo News article, made an amazing discovery . . . in a latrine in Iraq! Using the iNaturalist app, Trouern-Trend documented a frog that had never been spotted outside Kurdistan. (Kurdistan is a region that stretches across northern Iraq and Iran, and eastern Turkey and Syria.) Where will you make your mark as a citizen scientist?
- Well, participate in the Great Nature Project to get started! See it, snap it, and upload it with the free, easy-to-use iNaturalist app.
- Take a look at where some famous citizen scientists made their mark, and get inspired—go urban like Joe Jonas, get domestic like Danica Patrick, or hang out in your garden like the First Lady. iNaturalist is uNaturalist!
- The Nat Geo News article says more species are going extinct now than they did before people populated the planet. Species only go extinct for two reasons. What are those reasons, and how is human activity contributing to each one? Skim our encyclopedic entry on endangered species for some help.
- Loss of habitat
- Development for housing, industry, and agriculture is drastically reducing species’ habitats around the world.
- Isolating protected areas and cutting off migration corridors (for development and infrastructure) also shrinks habitats. Specifically, this is a reduction in species range.
- Global warming is perhaps the most dangerous factor contributing to species’ loss of habitat. Global warming is the current period of climate change, to which human activity is a major contributor. Global warming is changing the temperature and chemical balance of ocean habitats in particular, a process called ocean acidification. Many marine species, such as corals, cannot adapt to losing their temperate, salty habitat and are becoming endangered at alarming rates.
- Loss of genetic variation
- Overhunting and overfishing are the major human activities that contribute to a loss of genetic diversity.
- Loss of habitat
- How can citizens and citizen scientists help slow the rate of extinction by helping endangered species?
- Vote! According to the Nat Geo News article, “people can vote for policies that lessen the impact of climate change” and “encourage their governments to connect one nature reserve to another.”
- Vote with your wallet! Support organizations and products that don’t contribute to policies that endanger animals—invest in green energy, eat sustainable seafood, don’t buy ivory.
- See it, snap it, upload it! Participate in the Great Nature Project or other online crowdsourcing programs to document biodiversity (from penguins to plankton) and land-use patterns. This helps scientists and policymakers see where change is happening and how impact to the environment can be mitigated.