The Center for Biological Diversity
- Location: CA
- Marching Since: December 22, 2005
The Center for Biological Diversity works to protect the diversity of life on Earth. We believe that our lives are immeasurably enriched by the millions of non-human species with which we share this planet and diminished when ecosystems are degraded and species become extinct. Global warming is emerging as one of the greatest threats to the planet’s biological diversity.
The Earth is heating and changing more rapidly than scientists projected even just a few years ago. Many thousands of species are at risk. In a landmark study published in Nature, researchers found that 18 to 33 percent of species studied in a survey of 20 percent of Earth’s land area will be committed to extinction by the year 2050 if greenhouse gas emission trends continue.>
The Arctic has seen greater and earlier changes than anywhere else on the globe and is the harbinger of what is to come for the rest of the world. Average winter temperatures have already risen by over 7 degrees Fahrenheit in some parts of Alaska, and will likely rise by 18 degrees Fahrenheit over the Arctic oceans in the next century. Arctic sea ice is disappearing at an alarming rate and hit a
new record minimum in September of 2005.
Global warming threatens to unravel the Arctic web of life. The polar bear, the Arctic’s top predator and the world’s largest bear, is a marine mammal and depends upon the sea ice for all of its essential behaviors including hunting, feeding, traveling, mating and even giving birth. The Center for Biological Diversity, National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Greenpeace have petitioned (click here) the U.S. Secretary of Interior to list the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act because its sea-ice habitat is melting away due to rising temperatures.
But it is not just non-human species that suffer the effects of global warming. Warming in the Arctic threatens the very way of life and culture of indigenous Arctic peoples. And temperate regions are feeling the impacts that scientists have predicted: more frequent and extreme heat waves and droughts, and more intense hurricanes in the Caribbean and Atlantic regions. As the 2005 hurricane season demonstrated, the social and economic impact of these extreme climate events is staggering. The loss of life, property and community infrastructure is devastating. It is also expensive. Insurance company Munich Re estimates the total economic costs for the United States of a doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations from pre-industrial levels at $300 billion dollars annually.
Global warming takes an enormous public health toll. Primarily though increased incidences of extreme events such as heat waves, droughts and floods, and by increasing the incidence of disease, global warming is already responsible for over 150,000 human deaths per year, according to the World Health Organization. Rising sea levels from the expansion of the world’s oceans and the melting of glaciers and ice sheets will impact millions of people who live near coasts.
In short, climate change is one of the most pressing problems of our time, and cuts across political, economic, public health and environmental classifications. The Center for Biological Diversity has joined the Virtual March on Washington to help raise awareness of this urgent issue and build the political will to enact policies to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In reducing greenhouse gas emissions to protect biological diversity, we will also protect and enrich ourselves.