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by Aleena Habib July 28, 2022 4 min read

I'm so happy to welcome Aleena Habib as a guest contributor.  Full disclosure - I've known Aleena since she was a wee tot who displayed even at an early age, a deep love for animals and all things in nature, a huge heart and infinite kindness and compassion.  She recently graduated with a B.S in Biology from Boise State and is preparing to continue her studies.  I have enjoyed learning so much from her.  I hope you will, too.
hands holding globe made of water that is sprouting a tree that is attracting butterflies

Happy World Nature Conservation Day!

In a world filled with so much beauty, there is so much to enjoy, respect, and conserve. The focus of World Nature Conservation Day is to increase our awareness and appreciation of our natural world and emphasize the importance of protecting all of the incredible areas and beings that exist on Planet Earth.

Nature conservation is the practice of protecting biodiversity, preventing the extinction of species, and restoring, conserving, and maintaining ecosystems and habitats. Another very important aspect of nature conservation is finding sustainable ways for humans to live their lives without further destruction of nature.

Reading about the destruction of nature can be sad, so to begin I want to touch on some truly happy and positive things.Let’s discuss some wonderful conservation success stories!

Multiple animals have been brought back from the brink of extinction after extreme population decline due to human impacts.  Some examples of these include the Humpback whale, the Gray whale, the beaver, bald eagles, Peregrine falcons, California condors, and many more.

It is estimated that 48 birds and mammals have been brought back from the brink of extinction using conservation efforts since the beginning of the 1990s. This is tremendous news and gives us an insight into how well conservation aids in the recovery and protection of wildlife.

Current conservation challenges include a myriad of threats to nature such as:

  • The overexploitation of animals for consumable and non-consumable products
  • The overexploitation of natural resources such as water, fossil fuels, and rare earth materials
  • Deforestation for timber, agriculture, and urbanization
  • Land degradation caused by grazing, irrigation, soil erosion, soil pollution, and soil salinization
  • Habitat loss and fragmentation caused by urbanization and agricultural expansion
  • Pollution of air, water, and soil caused by improper waste disposal, industrial emissions, the burning of fossil fuels, wildfires, chemical and oil spills, and agricultural runoff feeding into soil and waterways

This list encompasses some of the most injurious threats to our natural world and its biodiversity. Direct and indirect consequences of these threats can result in devastating loss. Over exploitation of resources and destruction caused by humans can cause immediate harm, and speed up processes such as climate change, ocean acidification, and extinction.

We are currently living through what scientists have coined the Holocene extinction, or the sixth mass extinction. Unlike past extinctions, the current loss is being caused primarily by human activity. The species extinction rate is currently 100 times higher than previous natural extinctions, and that estimate is drastically higher if all threatened species are taken into account. Nature Conservation, now more than ever, is essential to the survival and health of Earth’s inhabitants.

Efforts to protect our world's biodiversity and conserve nature have historically fallen on the shoulders of scientists and nature enthusiasts. The ultimate driver behind overexploitation is money.

Due to the inherent profitability of exploiting natural resources, many people oppose conservation efforts and fight against them. The goal of conserving nature should be unanimous amongst all human beings, for the health of the planet determines the health of all living things. While many people make substantial profits off of this destruction, far more people exist in this world who care about the planet.

Fighting for alternative and less destructive ways to live will help conserve nature and will be far more profitable for all living beings in the long run. There is no better way to ensure our own happiness and healthiness than taking care of the place we call home.

 As we go about our everyday lives it can be easy to feel as though there is separation between nature and humans, especially because some of the cities we live and work in can be akin to concrete jungles. It is advertised and commercialized in our society that to get in touch with nature we must travel out of cities and visit the mountains, deserts, or beaches. The beautiful and exciting truth of life is that nature is everywhere, you only have to be willing to be conscious of it.

Even if you don’t live close to a forest, desert, or the ocean, your daily actions impact conservation and the planet. There are many ways for each and every one of us to participate in nature conservation and make a difference.

A handful of the impactful actions we can take include:

  • Plant native species and pollinator friendly plants in our yards and gardens
  • Use reusable food and beverage containers to reduce waste
  • Reduce or eliminate animal products from our diets
  • Buy local, sustainably sourced, and in season produce
  • Volunteer in local community cleanups
  • Educate others on the importance of nature conservation
  • Commute by biking, carpooling, or utilizing public transportation
  • Conserve daily use of water
  • Shop for clothes and accessories that are second hand or sustainably sourced

Every individual on Earth makes decisions that will help them survive in the way they feel is best. The most important decision that we can make for nature every single day is choosing to live our lives in a way that supports and protects the things in this world that don’t have a choice, or a voice.

Nature conservation is a constant battle; there have been and will be tragic losses, and there will continue to be tremendous victories. The more people that come together and choose to fight for the planet, the greater chance we all have at success. Remember, there is always hope. You have the power to make this world a better place.

For more inspiration and ways to participate in nature conservation, check out these wonderful resources:

Ten simple choices for a healthier planethttps://oceanservice.noaa.gov/ocean/earthday.html

Dr. Jane Goodall’s message of hope:Jane Goodall's message of hope

The Nature Conservancy: https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/

Understanding Nature Conservation: Conservation Methods Masterclass with Jane Goodall

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