(Colorado News Connection) Advocates for endangered species and wildlife are raising awareness about the biodiversity crisis the nation is facing, and approaches for addressing it.
This Earth Month, Colorado state lawmakers took the opportunity to highlight how important biodiversity is in the Centennial State. State Rep. Alex Valdez - D-Denver - was one of them, and he noted that 74 species native to Colorado are endangered or threatened.
And he added that the state is home to more than 900 species of native bees, as well as hundreds of butterflies and 11 species of migratory hummingbirds.
"We have a pollinator crisis, but pollinators are responsible for one out of every three bites of food you take," said Valdez. "About a half a trillion dollars of global crops are at risk from a pollinator crisis."
Valdez added that three quarters of terrestrial and two thirds of marine environments in Colorado have been altered beyond repair.
State lawmakers across the nation have signed a letter in support of a resolution in Congress calling for a National Biodiversity Strategy, introduced by U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse - D-Lafayette. It would guide and mobilize a coordinated response to the crisis.
Robert Dewey, vice president for government relations with Defenders of Wildlife, noted there are five main causes of biodiversity loss: climate change, habitat loss, pollution, the threat of invasive species and the direct over-exploitation of wildlife - such as commercial overfishing, for instance.
He cited a study that predicts a million species are at risk of going extinct in the coming decades. He said dealing with it via a national strategy makes sense.
"This is not something unheard of," said Dewey. "In fact, today, 193 countries around the world have some form of national biodiversity strategy. And yet the U.S. lacks one."
He added that in addition to lawmakers, more than 120 organizations are calling for the establishment of a National Biodiversity Strategy as well as leading scientists.