By Mark Kaufman
There are hundreds of species — the likes of wolves, gazelles, deer, toads, and birds — that humans have erased from Earth since the 16th century. And there are almost certainly millions of plant and animal species that have yet to even be named, or found.
What’s more, a quadruple whammy of habitat destruction, exploitation, invasive species takeovers, and relentless climate change has left a whopping 1 million species threatened with extinction, with extinction rates now “tens to hundreds of times higher” than the normal rate of extinction over the last 10 million years, according to the U.N.
Stuck on a present idea? Perhaps this giving season, if not all giving seasons, the gift of a conservation donation — rather than an ill-fitting shirt — is most befitting. Simply print out the donation confirmation and stuff it in a colorful envelope. Or email it. Done.
Conservation International — which recently led an expedition to document species in the recently discovered, once-mythical Ciudad Blanca (or “White City”) in the Central American jungle — believes modern society benefits from an intact natural world.
Polar Bear International — which is headquartered in the dense polar bear country of Churchill Canada — actively researches polar bear populations and how to best conserve them as the bears’ rapidly warming habitat vanishes.
The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) employs a legion of legal experts and lawyers to combat the intrusion into and destruction of the planet’s wilderness. For example, the organization is vigilantly opposing the Trump administration’s attempts to transform untrammeled Alaskan “fat bear” country into a mining district.
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) — which is building its own satellite to detect methane releases (methane is a potent greenhouse gas) into the atmosphere from specific gas and oil operators — has represented the environment in court since the 1960s.
The National Parks Conservation Association — which recently released a report documenting air pollution woes in national parks — has fought to protect some of America’s most naturally and culturally significant places for 100 years.
The Alongside Wildlife Foundation — founded by conservation biologist David Steen (who is a bonafide snake guru) — awards grants to diverse researchers engaged in conservation research around the planet.