Every day one entire species, or kind, of plant and animal becomes extinct. On year 2000, this rate of extinction have reach 100 species a day.
All plants and animals, including those that live on land, rely on one another for existence. We humans also depend on other species for survival. At the same time, we have the greatest power to cause or to prevent extinctions.
Human Over Nature Life on LandIn the 1960s, astronauts first traveled beyond the earth's protective atmosphere and were able to look back at our planet. What they saw was a beautiful globe, turning slowly in space. That image reminds us that our home planet has limits, for we know of no other place that can support life.
The various parts of natural environment—including people, air, water, soil, plants, and animals—are partners in making our planet a good place to live. If we endangered one element, the other partners are badly affected, too.
People throughout the world are working to protect and heal the earth's environment. They recognized that making nature our ally and not our victim is the way to shape a common future. Because we have only one planet to share, its health and survival mean that we all can live.
We Need Them, They Need UsOur planet holds millions of different kinds of plants and animals. Some live on land, and live in water. For centuries, this huge group of living things has given us food, medicines, and raw materials. In reaping these benefits, we have exercised strong control over nature. For example, we have uprooted plants and killed animals to make room for other plants and animals that are more useful to us.
Every Organism is our Partner that Living on EarthOur actions have destroyed the natural homes of many creatures and have produced pollution in the air, water, and soil. These conditions make it difficult—sometimes even impossible—for our partners on earth to survive.
Laws now protect some living things from further destruction. Groups of people have worked hard to restore the living spaces of some plants and animals. Understanding our role in nature—not as controller but as partner—will help us to ensure that the many different living things on our planet will survive into the twenty-first century.