Conservation – the little things matter

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Do you ever stop and actually think of the impact we as a species have on our planet? What about you as an individual? With that said, have you ever thought of how you could improve it? I’ve been contemplating a lot of this even more, recently, because of an article someone shared with me. The Western black rhino was announced as extinct on November 8, according to the latest review of animals and plants by the world’s largest conservation network which also stated that related species are also in danger of extinction.

If you were to really think about this, the realization that a specific species will never walk this planet again is revolting. What is even more revolting is the thought that our own species is the cause of it. Members of our own species have been poaching these rhino’s for decades, and other members of our own species didn’t rise to the occasion to help them. The International Union for Conservation (IUCN) of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species stated that if the appropriate conservation methods were utilized, we may have been able to save the Western black rhino species instead of driving it to extinction.  The IUCN also warns that other rhinos could follow such as Africa’s Northern white rhino that is “teetering on the brink of extinction” while Asia’s Javan rhino is also “making its last stand” also due to poaching and lack of conservation. Simon Stuart, chair of the IUCN species survival commission said in a statement that, “in the case of the Western black rhino and the Northern white rhino the situation could have had very different results if the suggested conservation measures had been implemented.”  This realization offers both good and bad news on the status of many other species all over the globe. Stuart added that, “these measures must be strengthened now, specifically managing habitats in order to improve performance, preventing other rhinos from fading into extinction.”

While poachers are the primary problem causing the extinction of rhinos and other species, I feel we are at fault as well. It reminds me of a scenario where if you see another person being bullied or hurt, do you stand aside and let it happen or take action? Even if you don’t have the power to take action and propose laws against poaching or other things harmful to endangered species, the importance of people getting involved in conservation methods is immense. The conservation efforts do pay off if they are actually put forth and followed through with. An example of this is the Southern white rhino subspecies. As the conservation methods have been being used, the populations have risen from less than one hundred at the end of the 19th century to an estimated wild population of 20,000 today.

While the conservation of species is immensely important in the continuation of species worldwide, you can do your part of helping the environment even if you’re not capable of getting involved with a larger conservation project. Recycling daily and even simply not littering are great ways to keep the environment clean and stable for other species to thrive.

Bryant University does its part in being environment-friendly by using energy star appliances, green seal-certified paper towels, and some green seal-certified cleaning dispensers. The Senate and Students in Free Enterprise also received a $40,000 grant from the university with which they purchased steel recycling bins to place outside, recycling bins for each hall of freshmen dorms, and also paper recycling bins for every faculty, staff, and administrator to have underneath their desk within their offices. The university has also completed a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and has maintained a near constant emissions level since 2005 despite a 10 percent growth in the campus footprint. Bryant even uses an energy management system and has installed economizers, lighting sensors, and energy-efficient lighting.  In addition to all of this, the Bryant Sustainability Council has developed an environmental science major and is putting together future programs to foster campus sustainability. Why not get involved in one of them on campus? You don’t have to travel far to do your part in helping our planet and the species that inhabit it!

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