Some people wonder why we need to worry about different species going extinct when there are so many other types of animals in the world. It may not seem like a big deal if a few kinds of insects or mammals are no longer around. People argue that creatures have always gone extinct and it’s the natural order of life. Unfortunately, research shows that extinctions are happening at a rate that is not natural and most likely directly related to human activities. It’s up to us to help sustain the environment around us and make sure the other creatures that inhabit our planet continue to exist. By helping endangered species, we’re upholding a balanced ecological web; this goal is important for many reasons.
Likely the most important reason we need to work to protect endangered species is that they help balance our biosphere. The biosphere is the combination of all ecosystems that exist on Earth. For an ecosystem to remain balanced, all species contributing to that ecosystem need to be present and doing their jobs. For example, without predators in a forested area, deer populations usually swell to outrageous numbers, causing property damage and car accidents, along with other issues such as overgrazing native plants. Most species have much smaller influences in ecosystems, many of which we still do not understand. It’s important to help this balance remain as much as possible to avoid any serious consequences.
Many organisms have made incredible contributions to medical advancements and helped us develop technology that saves human lives. Penicillin was created from a simple fungus that people paid little attention to until it’ medical value was revealed. Toxins from various plants have been proven to possess great medicinal value and help with certain illnesses. We’ve learned incredible treatments from small species and there are millions more left to discover. For example, only 5 percent of the oceans have been explored and water covers 70 percent of the Earth. There are likely many more species we have yet to find that can contribute to medical advancements and possibly cure serious diseases.
In order to produce agriculture, healthy ecosystems are vital. Insects such as bees pollinate the plants, which would have to be done by hand if these insects go extinct. When there’s less variety in a type of agriculture and the plant or animal contracts a disease, it can wipe out the entire species. Multiple types of plants or animals contribute to genetic diversity, which allows them to adapt and often prevents diseases from destroying their entire populations. By having various types of a single plant, for example, scientists are more likely to be able to find traits from one strain of plant that can be used to create more sustainable, higher producing, or disease resistant crops.