President Theodore Roosevelt, born on October 27, 1858, described his opinion in a book review about the diminishing global diversity of species:
It is deeply discreditable to the people of any country calling itself civilized that as regards many of the grandest or most beautiful or most interesting forms of wild life once to be found in the land we should now be limited to describing, usually in the driest of dry books, the physical characteristics which when living they possessed, and the melancholy date at which they ceased to live.
So it’s fitting that The Washington Post should publish a news item today, reporting the increasing number of animal species that are facing extinction on the 152nd anniversary of Roosevelt’s birthday. According to researchers highlighted in the article’s study, within the next ten years, 25 and 15 percent of the land and sea on Earth, respectively, need to be protected.
The researchers credit successes similar to the largest marine conservation area in history, designated as national marine monuments by President George W. Bush, for reducing the rate of environmental deterioration by as much as 20 percent.
Roosevelt also recommended measures he judged as necessary and expedient in order to address the critical state of the Earth’s biological wealth. “Laws to protect small and harmless wild life…are indispensable.”
Mario R. DiNunzio, ed., Theodore Roosevelt: An American Mind (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994).