Climate change has transformed and degraded habitats and ecosystems — places where animals have spent millions of years adapting — and now, plant and animal species are disappearing faster than at any time in recorded history. Emaciated grizzly bears are starving as the salmon population withers, and a warming Arctic is to blame for a die-off of puffins. According to a UN report on biodiversity, one million animals and plants face extinction due to climate change.
In 2019, animals and plants in the U.S. faced a new and local challenge. Although the Endangered Species Act (passed in 1973) had been credited with saving more than 99% of species listed on it, the Trump administration finalized sweeping rollbacks that weakened protections dramatically. In response, 17 state attorneys general sued, , a bill was filed in the House to revoke the rollbacks, and activists delivered more than 500,000 petition signatures supporting the Endangered Species Act. The Trump Administration decided to add insult to injury and, on October 2019, passed an executive order to disband two federal advisory boards focused on protecting marine life and battling invasive species. In June 2021, under the Biden administration, plans changed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service moving to undo much of the Trump administration’s work that altered the ways habitats of plants and animals on the verge of extinction are kept from total collapse.
CREDIT: SIERRA CLUB