We just celebrated Earth Day 2012.
Why is it important to have a day where we acknowledge that we, as human beings, play a vital role in the well being of our planet? If we don't consciously think about the choices we make everyday and more importantly, stay involved to care for our planet and all that live on it, we and future generations will be battling consequences beyond what any 3D Sci-Fi mega movie can come up with.
This past year was a milestone for the future of giant pandas. It was not realized until the last decade, that the number of existing wild pandas was at a critically low level bordering on the brink of extinction. Through research/field studies scientists discovered that not only were the pandas not reproducing in adequate numbers to sustain their population, but the habitat that they thrive in has just about disappeared, so the world has had to step in to help to prevent their extinction.
With these findings, the Chinese along with the help of scientist around the world, developed a plan to breed a captive population of 300 pandas in China. With this number, they believe they may be able to save the pandas from going extinct, in the event wild pandas can no longer survive.
This is the reason why we are seeing so many more pandas making their way into zoos around the world. Having achieved that goal last year, a phenomenal achievement by the way, the Chinese are now getting other countries to help in providing homes for some of these captive bred pandas.
But let's not forget about those pandas that are still living in the wild. I hope you are not content with the possibility that having only captive pandas living in zoos on this planet is acceptable, as some do.
China has delegated large reserves for the remaining pandas and are currently working on a new census so that we can see how well the existing population is doing. You can be a part of this work by keeping up with the zoos that are making homes for the captive pandas, museums, wildlife organizations and universities that participate in panda research. Ask questions, let these organizations know you care not only about the captive pandas you see in the zoos but you want to know what is being done for those who still live in the wild and how you can help with this.
It's not enough to be satisfied having achieved the goal of raising 300 captive pandas and breathe a sigh of relief, we still have a long ways to go. No matter where you live in the world, all panda trails lead back to China. Through your active involvement, the sentiment you express will make its way back to China and through this we can affect change.
China is the only country that holds the tremendous responsibility of the one place in the world where the pandas make their home.
As my Dad used to say, "Nobody said life would be easy". I used to get so mad with his reply, when I sought his advice over a problem I was dealing with. But you know what? It taught me a valuable lesson in life and one that has provided me with the willingness to persevere through those challenges that befall us.
As Earth Day represents a reminder for all of us to stay involved in our planets future, you can make a difference, don't become complacent, Mother Earth and all of her inhabitants will continue to need our help each and everyday.