Wednesday, August 4, 2010

New penguin species added to endangered species list

The Center for Biological Diversity has claimed a victory in its quest to have the U.S. government add penguins to the endangered species list. The government finally decided to list five penguin species - the Humboldt penguin, the yellow-eyed penguin, the white flippered penguin, the fiordland penguin, and the erect-crested penguin - this week. CBD hoped to get more penguin species listed in an attempt to force the Obama administration to focus on climate change, which the CBD lists as the primary threat to penguins. What does this mean for the protected species, none of which obviously live anywhere near U.S. territory? Well, for starters, all U.S. operations in areas where these penguins live are covered - so a fishing boat will have to make sure its gear doesn't harm penguins, for example.

Though this is good news for those penguins, the continuing unwillingness of many governments, including the U.S., to address climate change is nothing short of depressing. It's a shame that people have to come up with creative ways to force officials to take real actions against climate change. Electric cars are great, but where's our Cool Biz? Will governments ever get real with people and admit that we all have to start making significant changes and investments towards a more sustainable future? No one's being asked to live in a yurt, but we can't continue our current lifestyle. The easy way is cutting emissions and paying higher taxes now, or maybe trying the radical Japanese option of wearing lighter clothing when it's hot outside so we can give the air conditioner a break. The hard way is waiting until Bangladesh is underwater and all the penguins are dead.

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