Endangered Species and the Stuff We Buy, All Mapped Out By: Molly Nodiff

Article: Endangered Species and the Stuff We Buy, All Mapped Out

Author: Joanna Klein

Summary: Everyone knows that most actions have consequences, but what people don’t always notice are the actions that hurt the other things surrounding you. Today, the things that people both buy and consume have deadly effects on the planet’s wildlife. Now there are a series of maps displaying what areas are hurt the most. Daniel Moran, an industrial ecologist and his colleague Keiichiro Kanemoto developed the maps for a paper published in “Nature Ecology & Evolution”, these maps showed the impact of what they call a biodiversity footprint. Moran sees this idea as an early stage of tools being developed which will allow nations to some day regulate biodiversity using trade, as some now do with carbon.
There are some people in the world who are compulsive buyers, they like stuff. Little do they know that the sourcing of this stuff has been damaging the planet’s biodiversity. Sadly, in the last 500 years, around 1,000 animals that we know of have gone extinct. The main purpose of this extinction is the destruction of habitat. There are estimates that show that the rate of extinction today is somewhere from 100 to 1,000 times as high as it was when humans didn’t exist.
These maps allow people to visualize the link between global trade and its environmental impact. The maps connect supply chains of traded commodities in 187 countries with 6,803 animals classified under the vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered titles by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, as well as BirdLife International. There are 166 threats resulting from human activity that affect each animal.
The regions with the biggest impact are… the United States, the European Union and Japan. The European Union and the United States carry an especially big threat to marine life in Southeast Asia. This is where wildlife has been hit hard by also every country in the world. In the areas that are under threat the most, rich biodiversity comes together with heavy economic activity. Most likely, this excludes the United States and Europe because biodiversity has already been greatly decreased by human populations.
To help reduce the damage, consumers can demand more sustainably sourced goods with adequate labeling” Dr. Moran says. Most impact comes from food and fiber products, for example palm oil, unsustainably produced coffee and tea, paper, lumber and cotton. The map has limits though, and does not track the density of threats to any species specifically.

Analysis of Article: This content is noteworthy because truly I do not know who thinks about the production of the new sweater they are buying from Nordstrom or the bundles of food they are buying from Stop & Shop. All of these daily products have incredibly deadly effects on our planet's biodiversity. These maps allow people to understand and see the harsh and damaging effects that we, as humans, have had on our environment. That we may not even notice. Steps that must be taken in order for this to work is, the education of the people living amongst us. People should have to take either an Environmental Science course, or something to further educate themselves on how to live a environmentally healthy life.

Big Take Away: I chose this article because I never knew what awful impacts the human population use of daily goods has on the environment. I could not believe that the United States has one of the worst impacts on the habitats of endangered species based on what we buy. My family and I try to live an environmentally friendly life but I think that the others around us including myself need to do a better job. It is sad to think that we are hurting and damaging the habitats of species for our daily products. I would have never thought about the manufacturing process of the shoes I am wearing today, and how badly it can hurt the environment. I am sure many people do not think about that either so it is important for people to become educated on this topic. I hope that these maps are an eye-opener for many and they are able to change their lifestyle in order to help those in need!

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.