Celebrated yearly on March 3, the date the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was signed in 1973, World Wildlife Day has been set aside by the United Nations to raise awareness of the importance of conserving wild plants and animals. More importantly, World Wildlife Day is a call to action for everyone to do at least one thing every day to help conserve wildlife.
The theme of World Wildlife Day 2020 is “Sustaining all life on earth,” not just us humans or the myriad of animal- and plant-based products we use. As all the components of the world’s biodiversity are interconnected, each of us must get involved in helping sustain all animals and plants, even those that are geographically far away and unfamiliar to us.
Everyone is impacted by how we sustain life on earth, starting with those closest to and most dependent on nature. While it may not be immediately apparent, particularly in urban areas where most of us live, the livelihoods of billions of people throughout the world depend directly on how they sustain animal and plant life. And since all of us need clean air, water, food, clothes, shelter, medicine, energy and more, all of us depend indirectly on how animal and plant life is sustained. It is in all of our best interests to get involved
How can you get involved? To learn more, you can visit the World Wildlife Day website where you will find a variety of outreach materials, including posters, a social media kit and a video. The social media kit includes information about the value of wildlife, threats faced by wildlife and the importance of sustainability.
To gain an increased appreciation for wildlife, you can visit a National Wildlife Refuge near you.
With increased awareness often comes increased responsibility to take action. The World Wildlife Day website includes suggestions of things all of us can do. If all of us do one positive thing, we will help the planet and all animal and plant life on it.
To consume responsibly, seek to buy sustainably sourced products. In sharing knowledge, encourage others not to buy products that harm threatened or endangered species. After visiting a nearby refuge, think about volunteering or joining a Friends Group. Consider using the Save the Vanishing Species Stamps sold by the U.S. Postal Service. Instead of paying 50 cents for a stamp, you pay 65 cents and the additional 15 cents goes to help endangered animals around the world. Through the purchases of the stamps, Americans have contributed $5.7 million since 2011 to support worldwide conservation.
A hooded vulture in Zambia's Kafue National Park. Photo by Wynand Uys/Creative Commons | Video Showcases Threat Wildlife Trafficking Poses to Vultures
The purpose of World Wildlife Day is to increase both awareness and action. Any and every thing each of us does can make a difference. If everyone does something, the sum total of all our actions will help sustain life on earth, including our lives and those of our children and grandchildren. Thanks for doing your one thing today and every day to enjoy, celebrate and sustain all life!
By Edward Stoker, External Affairs