It would not come as a surprise to anyone who has viewed my artwork that I have an affinity for subjects from the natural world. I love to portray both plants and animals in my drawings and pastel work. As a believer in God, I also believe that we humans have an obligation to preserve his creation and yet we seem to be failing miserably in our stewardship. It saddens me to think of the many species that are going extinct at an alarming rate. How much beauty and what integral parts of our ecosystem have we lost in the span of my lifetime alone? How much more will we lose?
The polar bear, for instance, is now endangered through loss of its sea ice habitat due to climate change. It might be inevitable that we will lose these creatures as a unique species to extinction. The earth is heating up demonstrably. Will we take action or throw our hands up in surrender? Or worse yet, bury our heads in the sand and deny that any problem exists.
There are many species of animal and plant threatened with extinction through loss of habitat by such causes as rapid deforestation, pollution, and poaching. We are witnessing the steady demise of our planet’s biodiversity and wealth of natural resources, any of which has intrinsic value, but the loss of the unknowable potential of one species could prove to be the integral piece that maintains our ecosystem as we know it. It may be that we will become the architects of our own destruction through short sighted policies and practices.
So, what can you and I do? There are a number of things starting with recognizing that there is an issue that needs addressing. Become aware of your immediate environment, pick up litter, plant a tree or cultivate a bee and butterfly garden. Reduce the use of plastics and recycle when it can be done. There are many things that can be accomplished as an individual. On a larger scale, it is important to support organizations and leadership with vision for the future and a plan to conserve our natural resources. I know this has all been stated before and by more eloquent writers, but time on earth grows short for some of these species and perhaps for our own as well.