Is it the upcoming weekend, exquisite post-rain weather, signs of a summer garden harvest, the free Espresso coffee I enjoyed today, or all of the above, there is sun-ray of hope upon us.
It is easy to fall into despair with the daily, bone-jarring depressing news from around the planet. Next to war reports, the heart-wrenching information about the environment makes us wonder about our future. Yet, like invisible plants that seem to stay forever underground in January or February, then burst open in the spring months, there are many reasons to celebrate environmental victories today.
1. The newest and largest marine reserve on Earth: President Obama just announced his plan to make a broad swath of the central Pacific Ocean off-limts to fishing, energy exploration and other development. When consummated, the marine sanctuary will double the area of ocean globally that is fully protected.
2. Key Wildlife Species Returning to Europe: Bears, wolves, lynx and eagles have started to return to previously occupied habitat in Europe in surprising numbers due to protection efforts, curbs on hunting, and interestingly, people moving away from rural areas and into cities.
3. California bans lead shot: The California State Legislature recently enacted legislation that will ban lead shot used by hunters. This news has enormous positive ramifications for the rare California condor. Our largest native bird, the condor’s recovery has been hampered by deaths attributed to lead shot poisoning. Condors are strictly scavengers and the US Fish & Wildlife Service states that lead shot has to be banned before the “Thunder Birds” can expand their range.
4. First wolf pups in the Oregon Cascades: There haven’t been wolf pups in the Oregon mountains since the 1940’s, and now they are confirmed by the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife in the southern part of the state. There are now approximately 64 wolves in Oregon; there were none six years ago.
5. Fender’s blue back in the Willamette Valley: What kind of animal do you guess is called a Fender’s blue? This tiny butterfly has been successfully re-introduced at Finley National Wildlife Refuge near Corvallis. Until the 1990’s, biologists thought this insect was extinct.
So, we have at least five reasons to stay positive, while continuing the work of education, habitat conservation, and passing the word to others to pursue and seek at least five more success stories….soon.