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01/30/2013

NWF Report: Wildlife Losing the Race Against Climate Disruption

Red Fox Kit 044                                                       (Photo: Larry Allen)

I find myself quite terrified when I'm comfortable wearing a t-shirt outside in Washington, D.C. in January, but I'm even more scared for those who lack the tools, like a simple wardrobe change, to adapt quickly to climate disruption. 

A new report released today by the National Wildlife Federation says animals are struggling to adapt to the climate chaos caused by the burning of fossil fuels and heating of our planet.

As the climate changes rapidly, habitats are being destroyed and many animals are left to die. In the past, animals have been able to adapt to changes in climate patterns, but now, the climate is changing at a much more rapid pace—faster than animals are able to respond.

Animals in the Arctic, like polar bears and walrus, are struggling to survive as sea ice melts and their required habitat disappears. Birds and butterflies have had to make significant changes to their breeding season and seasonal migrations. The same droughts and heat waves that burn our crops and limit our access to clean drinking water also wipe out fish by the thousands. Large-scale migrations to colder locations by many plant and wildlife species are happening faster than scientists ever anticipated—and climate disruption is to blame.

In many cases, plants and animals, the flora and fauna that make up America's beloved wild legacy, are unable to defend themselves from climate disruption. They surely won't be able to reduce the pollution that humans have created and that contribute to the warming of Earth's atmosphere, so that leaves it up to us to address this global threat.

We have the solutions right in front of us – all we need to do is muster up the courage to act. America can and should be a leader in the effort to wean the planet off of the dirty and outdated fossil fuels that are driving climate disruption. And all across the country, American innovation and ingenuity are helping continue our critical transition to clean energy.

This report serves as a reminder that the need for climate action is more dire now than ever before. We’ve seen the human impact after a year of severe weather, droughts, wildfires, and Superstorms.  And this report is further evidence the impact goes well beyond just humans.

Take a deeper dive into the report, and take action to address these challenges now.

--Dan Byrnes, Sierra Club Media Team

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