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Endangered Species Day

By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views

“It’s time we acknowledge that animals are the proverbial canaries in the coal mine,” says Steve Apfelbaum, an award winning ecologist and founder of Applied Ecological Services, Inc. (AES). “When they are healthy it indicates our earth is healthy. If we work together to improve the health of our ecosystems, wildlife will benefit, and so will we.”

Steve Apfelbaum is the founder of Applied Ecological Services.

In honor of National Endangered Species Day, I interviewed Apfelbaum, who started AES in 1975. AES manages between 700 and 1,000 land restoration projects each year throughout the U.S. “The presence of endangered wildlife and their habitats can restrict access for us and our pets to walk over and explore,” says Apfelbaum. “These restrictions are imposed to protect endangered wildlife and habitats. Our pets represent a threat to the lives and security of some endangered species.”

Steve's dog Apache has lots of places to roam.

While these protected areas keep us and our pets out, Apfelbaum has never felt restricted. “I have always been able to find other locations to take our dog so that we don’t conflict with the protection needs of endangered species,” he says.

Listening to Apfelbaum recite a number of man-made problems can be dizzying. He speaks of bulldozing to clear habitats for new developments, acid rain, global climate and weather patterns, and intensity changes associated with greenhouse gas emissions from industrial operations, agricultural land-uses, coal-fired powered plants, meat production through extensive livestock grazing, transportation system emissions, and our urban living and dependency on fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. We know these have a negative impact on our environment. However, all is not lost.

Apfelbaum suggests that we all get involved locally in projects to restore land, habitat, and species. “Reduce your family’s consumption and demand for resources by thinking and acting on the basic tenets of sustainability in your daily life and encourage the same for those people with whom you associate,” he says. Apfelbaum has written a how-to series for laypeople to develop and carry out their own restoration projects at home. It’s called Restoring Ecological Health to Your Land.

24 comments to Endangered Species Day

  • Jeanine

    I had to look up the “canaries in a coal mine” phrase. For those of your readers who don’t get this, it means that miners would carry caged canaries into the mines with them. If dangerous gases such as methane or carbon monoxide leaked into the mine-shaft, the gases would kill the canary before killing the miners. It also means “A warning of danger or trouble yet to come.” It’s a very colorful phrase steeped in truth.

  • Robin

    I agree with Mr. Apfelbaum that even with restricted areas, there are plenty of places to walk our dogs. We should not trample on delicate areas.

  • Barbara

    Great information. I did not know there was an Endangered Species Day. Thank you.

  • Marcie

    Steve Apfelbaum, and other environmentalists seem positive despite what is happening to the earth. I’m glad that there is hope.

  • Rhonda

    Thanks Michele! I love reading Pet News and Views, and that you cover more than just pets. I agree that all animals–even wildlife–should be properly cared for.

  • Linda

    thanks fort he info. I am going to look for Steve’s book. And by the way, his dog Apache is adorable.

  • Kristen

    Thanks M! Glad to learn about AES. I will check them out online to read more about them. thanks.

  • Mary

    Meat production is dirty. It’s so bad for our planet. Combine that with pesticides and other pollutants and the planet–meaning we–suffers. We buy our food from a local green market that doesn’t use pesticides. We also are vegans 3 days a week. We do eat dairy and fish on the other days. Every little bit helps.

  • Yvette

    Thanks Michele. I just love PNAV! It’s a great site. I’m vegan so that helps a lot. And I buy locally. I also hike with my dogs (I have two rescues) in areas that welcome us.

  • Patti

    I like the canary comment. It is so true, and we need to take small steps to improve our surroundings.

  • Lucy

    Applied Ecological Services has a great site with helpful info on everything from land and water management to the benefits of green roofs. Thanks for this post.

  • Rod

    Everyday should be Endangered Species Day. We need to think and act everyday to make our home a healthier place.

  • Brilliant that National Endangered Species Day is raising awareness, its just a shame that there are so many endangered species that there a need for a national day about it :(

  • Kevin

    Thanks for the post. We will celebrate by going Vegan today. I’m a vegetarian, but have been trying to go vegan for a while now. I think the one-day a week approach will work for us. It it so much better for us–health-wise and for the environment.

  • Kevin

    So many of us don’t think about how our pets affect the environment. Thanks for the post.

  • JoBeth

    Found you on Twitter. Great site! We are vegan in our house, and do our part. We also don’t litter. It amazes me how much trash we find on our hikes. It really is the little things that add up to the big picture. Good post.

  • Trudie

    I belong to a local hiking group. Many of us wear gloves on our hikes and bring trash bags, which unfortunately that there is trash on the trails, to pick up the trash and deposit it in waste bins at the entrance of the trails. I wish people would really be fined for littering. It can really mess up an area and harm an animal.

  • Michael

    Thanks for the good post, and Happy Endangered Species Day. And while a one day celebration brings attention to an important issue, we should think about this everyday. By being mindful about our planet, we will live healthier lives.

  • Susan

    Thanks Steve and Michele! I love Pet News and Views! It’s a great site. Thanks for devoting some space to wildlife–not just cats and dogs, which are important too.

  • John

    AES is doing some incredible things for the planet. Everyone should take a look.

  • Margaret

    Happy Endangered Species Day. In response to Wildlife and Pets, I agree that it is a shame that there needs to be a day to draw attention to this issue.

  • Cathy

    Another good post. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

  • Judith

    Thanks Steve. You are doing great work.

  • Thank you for reminding everyone to care for all of earth’s creatures.