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As I write, the critically endangered Yangtze Softshell Turtle can disappear overnight

May 5, 2019

My fingers hammer against the plastic keyboard, frenzy clicking that can never drown out the despondent cries I imagine them emitting.
There will be no tears from the last 3 Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtles of the world, not owing to their inability to experience grief at their inexorable demise, but because only female turtles are known to produce tears, and the last one of their species died on April 16th, this very year. Just like that, a species is doomed for extinction.

The lacuna they will leave behind in our biodiversity can never be refilled. Let that fact evoke poignancy, that is hopefully, concomitant with a sense of urgency.

Like a nail hammered onto the surface of a table, the damage dealt to the moribund mother Earth is irrevocable and will leave a deep, ugly scar. But we can, and should, stop hammering any more metaphorical nails into the table. Perhaps, if mother nature allows it, equilibrium can be reattained and we might see new species similar to the turtles popping up again.
However, action has to come before that.

Start by providing monetary aid to organizations. Worldwide Fund for Nature steals most of the mainstream attention, but other organizations such as Panthera, Save The Manatee Club are also prominent non-profit organizations that are pivotal in reversing the fate of many critically endangered species.
This is the simplest, most hassle-free way to help and if you’ve done so, you are already making a difference. But if you yearn to be part of the action, you can also volunteer, or even start an organization that deals with a specific species on by yourself.
Always remember to recycle, and cut down on plastic and electricity consumption.

Now that all the typical, banal suggestions (essential nonetheless) are out of the way, let us explore some more interesting options.

Let’s get out to the streets and get mad, get our blood racing, look at some rage inducing videos of animals becoming endangered due to human negligence and ignorance, and start a riot! Pressure your civil servants, impress the sense of exigency on them and make them worry too. What’s that? Starting a protest in my country is illegal? Well maybe try for something milder that is equally efficacious. If your country happens to bear residence to a species on the brink of extinction, do not hesitate to start a petition and contact the government. This isn’t the time to be unsympathetic to such dreadful plights.
Social media is the new-fangled fad of this decade, so why not use it to spread the word? Advocate for change and influence others, beg for followers and do whatever you need to get the message reverberating around the internet. Start a challenge, promote yourself with internet memes, anything is possible on social media and you might become a celebrity yourself!
Grow native plants to support the local bio-diversity, start a garden at your backyard, or maybe even grow entire forests like Jadav Payeng from India. Continually pile on plaudits and adulations for wealthy billionaires who actively play a role in the preservation of the environment.
Conversely, condemn and report any environmentally inimical activities from individuals or entire corporations and never be afraid to speak out against those in power who expressed repugnant ignorance towards the health of our planet, such as denying the existence of global warming.
Unlike the Yangtze giant softshell turtles, there is still a glimmer of hope for us. Are you ready to seize whatever little time we have left to restore our planet and replenish our ecosystem? "Yes" is the only acceptable answer to that question as the alternative would be our own extinction.
I hope all of you won’t see this as another mindless, angry internet rant about the state of humanity and think this to be an attempt by me to establish a moral high ground. I am genuine and insistent that we change our mindset and our lifestyles, for I am attempting to do so too. Together, as one united human race, let us strive for the restoration of the ecosystem as our ancestors know it, and hopefully, one where our future generations will get to know too.

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1 Comment
  • mrcolinredwards

    WHAT?! A species of turtle went extinct?!?!?! That's horrible!!! I will definitely do something to help the environmental organizations in the future when I find the time and the means! Liking this and will spread the word about this piece!

    5 months ago