Protest Held at Zoo Atlanta over Sixth Mass Extinction: One Million Animals and Plants Going Extinct
(APN) ATLANTA — On Friday, May 24, 2019, Extinction Rebellion Atlanta (XR) gathered at the entrance to Zoo Atlanta in Atlanta’s Grant Park neighborhood to raise awareness that one million animals and plants are at risk of extinction.
The African Spotted Crocodile, the Black and White Rock Lemur, the Guatemalan Beaded Lizard, the Bornean Orangutan, the Panamanian Golden Frog, the Sumatran Orangutan, the Sumatran Tiger, and the Western Lowland Gorilla: these are some of the species at risk of extinction that are also represented at Zoo Atlanta, which were read aloud during the protest by an XR member.
A recent report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform and Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) says the situation is dire.
We appear to be in the Sixth Mass Extinction event in the known history of Mother Earth.
XR Atlanta is part of an international movement, as previously reported by Atlanta Progressive News.
“We look at the IPBES report and we think, ‘It’s not about us,’ we think it’s about them [animals], but that report is about us. The thing we forget is the fact that we are animals too, we are part of this whole ecosystem of species… Humans are also at risk,” Lisa Baker, a member of XR, told APN.
When the protesters first assembled, before they got started, XR was immediately met by police and zoo security and told to move off the zoo property, according to XR Atlanta.
So, they moved to the public sidewalk on Cherokee Street where they held a funeral and a die-in for the species endangered by the climate crisis, including humans.
They talked with passers-by and handed out flyers.
The IPBES report states that one million species of plants and animals are at risk of going extinct in the near future. The report found overwhelming evidence that human activities are behind nature’s decline.
“The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food, security, health, and quality of life worldwide,” Sir Robert Watson, IPBES Chair, said in the report.
Now environmentalists and scientists are concerned that a sixth mass extinction is happening due to man-made climate change.
Factors that have triggered this beginning of a die-off include: the burning of fossil fuels; deforestation; the loss of habitat for humans, animals, and plants; growing consumption of animal products; and pollution of the land, air, and water combined with global warming.
We are all witnessing human and natural catastrophes getting more frequent and more destructive every year.
The Arctic ice caps are melting, oceans are rising, there are over four hundred dead zones in our oceans, and Fukushima is still leaking radiation into the Pacific Ocean.
We are seeing historically strong and destructive events of flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, and storms.
Record heat waves, combined with strong winds, are causing more out-of-control wildfires, with some areas becoming deserts.
“Ecosystems are collapsing and that is really scary because humans are a part of the system. It is our own habitat that we are destroying and we don’t know if it is going to be livable for us,” Baker said.
“We already know it’s not liveable for a lot of species because two hundred species are going extinct every day. Ecology is a web with everything connected; and without bees, we will die.” Baker said.
“The reality is you can not have limitless growth on a finite planet. We have to start recognizing that,” Baker said.
XR demands a transformative shift away from unsustainable economic growth and prioritizing human well-being and environmental sustainability.
The government must move shift public dollars and incentives to protecting nature, providing clean energy, and growing food closer to home.
The IPBES report says it is not too late to make a difference, but that this change will require “a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals, and values.”
(END / Copyright Atlanta Progressive News / 2019)