As of this month, 27 species have moved from the endangered species list to extinct status, according to a new report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Sharks, rays, Komodo dragons and more were added to the IUCN’s Red List, which complies information on species conservation. The change has occurred as environmental disasters have destroyed ecosystems around the world. Last year, for instance, it was estimated that a billion animals were killed in Australia’s wildfires, upending the ecosystem and creating rippling effects to the environment.
Climate change has been a rising problem across the globe for years, with fast-spreading wildfires, unprecedented heat waves leaving hundreds in critical condition, and winter storms leaving thousands without power and supplies.
Christian Leaders Respond
In response to the ongoing fight against climate change, leaders of three prominent Christian denominations recently issued a joint statement calling on all people of faith to take action against the destructive impact of climate change.
Pope Francis, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew issued the statement as world leadership prepares for a major United Nations conference on climate change in early November.
“September is celebrated by many Christians as the Season of Creation, an opportunity to pray and care for God’s creation,” the trio wrote. “As world leaders prepare to meet in November at Glasgow to deliberate on the future of our planet, we pray for them and consider what choices we must all make.”
The trio ministers to more than 1.5 billion Christians, overseeing more than half of all Christians in the world. They urged that everyone, regardless of religious affiliation, step up and take better care of the environment.
“We call on everyone, whatever their belief or world view, to endeavour to listen to the cry of the earth and of people who are poor, examining their behaviour and pledging meaningful sacrifices for the sake of the earth which God has given us,” the trio said.
“Widespread floods, fires and droughts threaten entire continents,” they continued. “Sea levels rise, forcing whole communities to relocate; cyclones devastate entire regions, ruining lives and livelihoods. Water has become scarce and food supplies insecure, causing conflict and displacement for millions of people.”
Earlier this year, the U.N. released a report that can be summarized as a “code red for humanity.” Environmental disasters are happening at a much quicker rate than scientists predicted, leaving little time left to make significant changes.
Climate expert Ben Lowe said, “It’s too late for us not to feel the impacts of climate change. Communities all around the world are currently being significantly impacted by disruptions to the global climate system.”