How people can give nature a fighting chance
Why do we need to create habitat?
If you watch the news, it shouldn’t be a surprise to hear that the Earth is not looking so healthy. It seems constant to hear about a major storm in this city, or a tornado in that one. We continue to witness the extinction of up to 150 species every day. Many of these are in faraway and exotic “biodiversity hotspots,” like the Amazon or Yellowstone.
But many more are in your State, or even your city. Several may be within a mile of your house. You might even have one in your yard.
These extinctions can be caused by many things, but the primary cause is habitat loss. And most of the other causes are related to “human activities.” In other words, we are killing these species. So, the ethical and obvious first step is to stop and reverse habitat loss. This means we need to create habitat where it used to be, but no longer exists.
Is anybody creating habitat?
It’s easy to answer whether or not we have stopped habitat loss; no. The best we have been able to do is protect specific places from certain uses. The most stringent of these protections is a “wilderness area” which applies to a very small portion of total protected land. Others are protected only from subdivision and further development, with few or no restrictions on how the land is managed. The community that favors this approach to conservation is currently working toward protecting 30% of the U.S. by 2030. This goal is backed by President Biden through executive order. These protections are helpful to protect biodiversity in many cases, but they usually don’t include habitat creation.
As far as the creation of new habitat, there are local projects supported by state initiatives. As always, the obvious approach seems “impossible” at the national scale. And so, countless local volunteer projects compete for small grants and sometimes receive free trees to plant along streams. On public conservation lands, some government entities perform restoration or management work. Usually with the stated goal of creating specific habitat types. Efforts by both of these groups are admirable, and helpful, and always lead to new and better techniques for creating habitat. Unfortunately, these efforts have not been enough to stop species loss. More is needed. Much more.
How can we get more people to create habitat?
A lot of folks are trying to figure this question out. Strategies range from tax breaks, increased access to official resources and information, and voluntary legal agreements to political rallies, grassroots non-profits, and thousands of would-be entrepreneurs with a big idea,.
But very few people will take care of the land they are in charge of. And even fewer will help their neighbor to better care of nature on her land. They will actually do the opposite, and try to keep nature away from their lawns with pesticides and lawnmowers. People want to believe that nature, ailing as it is, is far away from their neighborhood, in a park or forest. Nature is under your feet as you walk on your grass. It’s time to stop ignoring it. So, if you want to get people to create habitat, you should create one. It’s easier than you think. Check out our page How does Unlawning work?
Habitat creation is more important than ever
We are past warnings now, as scientists now believe that we have already entered the Earth’s 6th mass extinction event. Tragedy cannot be prevented at this point. But we can still try to lessen the blow to Earth’s ecology. Carbon emissions are only one piece of the puzzle. We need healthy ecosystems in every city to serve as habitat for the plants and animals we share our home with and depend on. Your lawn can be part of it! You can be part of it. Why unlawn?