Endangered Species Day in May? I thought this day came in November. After a search, I realized that I was thinking of Remembrance Day for Extinct Species, which is November 30th. In May we concentrate on species that face a high risk of extinction in the near future, like gray wolves and blue whales (pictured here). We’re all in some danger, but not so severely as species on the endangered list.
I found at least three different dates for the May 2018 event: May 16, 18, and 20. I’m guessing that this confusion stems from its being kept on the third Friday in May, which of course changes from year to year. In 2018 it’s definitely the 18th. In 2019 it will be celebrated on May 17th; in 2020 the date will be May 15th.
Just one example (pertinent for the video recommended below): While all whales and dolphins are threatened by mankind’s activities to a greater or lesser degree, some are more endangered than others. We have destroyed some 80% of the biomass of whales and dolphins in the world’s oceans and rivers. So alarming!
Although I understand the importance of taking a day to think about, treasure, and hope to save such individual species, I also find it inadequate. It seems too easy to say something like: well, too bad, but we can live without [name]. Thinking of any given species minus its context is simplistic. As Thomas Berry (and others) say: “Nothing is itself without everything else.” Pope Francis labeled it Integral Ecology. We need to deepen an awareness of the interconnectedness of all creation, what Vietnamese Buddhist Monk and scholar Thich Nhat Hanh calls ”interbeing.” The ecosystems of which each is a part took hundreds of years – and more —to develop.
So, rather than focus on the grim news about the thousands of birds, fish, mammals, insects and plants that are under serious threat of being lost forever, I shall share some actions we can take to preserve them and then give links to two videos that make obvious the interdependencies.
Support laws that protect endangered species and that preserve our environment. (E.g., reducing plastic)
Join (and/or contribute to) organizations dedicated to protecting creation.
Plant trees and flowers, especially garden flowers for bees and butterflies.
Stand with indigenous peoples seeking to protect their habitat wherever there is this need.
In whatever manner you do it, pray that humans care for our common home and every threatened species within it.
•How Wolves Change Rivers — 4 min. This video shows how re-introducing wolves to Yellowstone National Park changed the landscape.
•How Whales Change Climate — 5 min. This video also details how one species affects others and even mitigates climate change.