Over 40 percent of the world’s species are on the brink of extinction. Even more are threatened by loss of habitat, overhunting, and other human activities. Russell Herbert Jack, Southland Yoga Training Founder, has noticed that while people search to be more mindful around others, they often fail to realize their effect on the planet. The loss of just one species can significantly affect our lives, other species, and the earth as a whole.
No matter how a person may morally view the topic of extinction, there are undeniable negative impacts when an endangered species nears extinction. While this article is certainly not comprehensive, it’s a good look at why preserving endangered species is particularly important to human health and wellbeing.
Firstly, endangered species put the ecology of a region at risk. When a species is considered “endangered,” it’s a clear sign that the ecosystem in that area is crumbling. When a species is lost, it endangers nearby species.
This negative effect can go both “up” and “down” the food chain: the loss of a food source or an invader-fighting apex predator are both significant losses. If a region’s ecology breaks down, the world loses that forest, grassland, river, etc., all of which contribute to air purification. Not only are other animals at risk, but humans worldwide as well.
Over half of the world’s most-prescribed medicines are originally derived from plants. It can seem disheartening that only about 5% of the world’s plant species have been tested for medical uses. However, that same statistic provides great hope; we have a large medicine cabinet yet to be accessed.
The answer to seemingly incurable diseases could be waiting for us in an endangered plant species. Maintaining that wide variety is one of our best solutions toward healthier humanity.
At first glance, our world’s natural beauty and natural parks seem to exist solely for human recreation and enjoyment. And those are certainly important aspects. However, what is less evident is the billion-dollar industry that envelops natural parks. Surrounding towns greatly benefit from tourists. Additionally, the maintenance and protection of these natural spaces themselves provide great employment.
It’s interesting to note that while controlled agriculture is a very hands-on activity for humans, it’s also an important part of preserving natural wildlife. Many farmers work with fellow local conservationists to set aside land to protect nearby streams and rivers (and their endangered inhabitants).
Additionally, their crops’ wild relatives contain necessary genetic material that contributes to producing the food we eat. Protecting wild crops allows farmers to ensure their products remain disease-free for consumers. It also enables the crafting of new crops that can grow in less-than-ideal situations. This is important for our ability to be versatile when it comes to farming. Whether you pick it yourself or visit an urban supermarket, nature truly feeds all of us. Protecting endangered plant species protects our future food sources.
About Russell Herbert Jack
Russell Herbert Jack, Southland Yoga Training Founder, is a 25-year-old yoga instructor and mindfulness teacher from Southland, New Zealand. He is passionate about spirituality, the vegan lifestyle, animal rights, and living in sync with nature. Russell specializes in Vinyasa Yoga, Qigong, and guided meditations.