Day 4: Turtle Thursday
Don't forget to tag #WildlifeWeek on social media.
- Share: Sign the Center's Stop McClimate Change Petition and share on social media with friends.
- Eat: Experiment with a new recipe or ingredient that you’ve never tried before. The Wildlife Week Calendar offers fun, simple and innovative recipes for every culinary desire. Every meal is an opportunity to save species by eating less meat.
- Act: Take a bite out of food waste. About 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted, and even more wildlife is wasted by destructive industrial fishing practices. By reducing your food waste and seafood consumption you can help protect endangered sea turtles caught as "bycatch:"
- Only order what you can eat
- Try trayless dining to encourage smaller plates and less waste
- Take home leftovers
- Buy "ugly" produce others might not by
- Use the entire plant if you cook
- Where possible, shop local
Today's featured recipes: Turtle Treats
Featured Wildlife: Loggerhead Sea Turtle
The loggerhead sea turtle is truly a world traveler: Every year females migrate 7,500 miles from nesting beaches in Japan to feeding grounds near Mexico. Baby loggerhead sea turtles have to make their own perilous journey — as soon as they hatch from their eggs and emerge from the sand, they must crawl across the beach and into the ocean, avoiding raccoons, birds, crabs and other predators along the way. So think about that next time you feel miserable waking up and getting out of bed in the morning: At least you don’t have to worry that something will eat you as you rush to get to class.
However, loggerheads — and all sea turtle species in general — are threatened on multiple fronts, from human development on their nesting grounds to commercial fishing and rising sea levels due to climate change. If we don’t reduce our greenhouse gas pollution, those levels will rise another 3 or 4 feet on average — and perhaps up to 6.5 feet or more — within this century. Rising seas pose a major risk to our nation’s wildlife. The United States is home to 1,383 federally protected threatened and endangered species, many of which depend on coastal and island habitats for survival.
In Florida high temperatures have produced a population of nearly 90 percent female turtles, and it is predicted that an additional one degree Celsius increase in temperature will produce a population of zero males in that area. Climate change threatens the feeding habitats of sea turtles. With their population levels and food sources at risk from climate change, loggerhead populations around the globe are in decline.
- Commercial fishing, entanglement in fishing lines and nets
- Coastal development and beachfront lighting
- Climate change and sea-level rise
- Increased nest predation
- Collisions with watercraft
- Oil and gas exploration
- Human consumption
Key Threat From Meat Production: Climate Change and Sea-level Rise
Six out of the seven sea turtle species in the world are already on the endangered species list, including the loggerhead. Rising sea levels have eroded the beach habitat where female loggerheads lay their eggs, while rising global temperatures have made the sand too warm for loggerhead egg incubation (19).
A new, groundbreaking report from the Center finds that 233 threatened and endangered species in 23 coastal states are at risk from sea-level rise. This means that, left unchecked, rising seas threaten the survival of 17 percent of our nation’s federally protected species. The report highlights five at-risk species living in different parts of our coasts: the Hawaiian monk seal, Key deer, loggerhead sea turtle, Delmarva peninsula fox squirrel, western snowy plover.
Like the loggerhead sea turtle, more than a million species are at risk of extinction due to climate change (20). Animal agriculture is responsible for at least 14.5 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions affecting climate change; some studies estimate that animal agriculture actually accounts for a much higher percentage (21). The livestock industry is responsible for more emissions than any form of transportation. Reducing the amount of meat you eat is one of the most effective ways to cut your emissions and protect wildlife — eating just one less burger per week is the greenhouse gas equivalent of driving 350 fewer miles (22).
Scientists predict that over one-third of the Earth’s animal and plant species will be extinct by 2050 if current greenhouse gas emissions trajectories continue — a catastrophic loss with irreversible implications for biodiversity, ecosystems and human societies around the world.
College students know the value of efficiency, such as Sparknotes, power naps and restaurants with free delivery. So if you want to fight global warming and save wildlife, make an efficient and effective choice: eat less meat (and eat less seafood).