Saving the Worlds Ecosystems

For the first time in life's history, the human species has the power to cause mass extinction. We are also perhaps the first species that can prevent it. There are many laws that protect the habitats of species in danger of becoming extinct. Countries around the world are setting aside vast sections of land and ocean just for wildlife. There are hundreds of organizations, such as the World Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, and Conservation International, whose sole purpose is to protect ecosystems from human destruction.

As of 2003, there were more than 100,000 protected wildlife areas around the world. These include parks, wildlife refuges, and other reserves, both on land and in the ocean. They cover about 12% of the Earth's surface. Protected areas cover over 16% of Southeast Asia alone. This is a large increase from 10 years ago, when protected areas covered only 3% of the world.

Hopefully, conservation efforts like these can offset the destructive effects of other human activities. Whatever the outcome, we can be certain of one thing: the Earth and its inhabitants will continue to evolve in fascinating and unpredictable ways.

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