Ellyn Bitume / Research Ecologist

Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, USDA-Forest Service / Evolutionary Ecology

The translation of this testimony was generated automatically by a translation program. Thanks for your understanding.

Climate change is already having an impact on the spread of invasive species and on the ability of threatened species to persist. Threatened species that are sensitive to small changes in climate are not able to move fast enough to track the changing temperatures, and invasive species are proliferating in areas with increased carbon and precipitation. The increase in natural disasters, such as wildfires, flooding, heat waves, and hurricanes, has had catastrophic effects on habitats and ecosystems all over the planet. My work helps to mitigate the effects of climate change on the spread of invasive species by restoring the ecosystem balance once an invasive species has arrived.
In my personal life, one of the best ways that I can act is to continue to eliminate the consumption of meat and dairy products. Industrial animal agriculture contributes dramatically to the production of greenhouses gasses, uses vital land that was once forested, and forces humans to use this land to grow food to feed the animals, rather than feeding humans. Further, the waste produced by such farming practices is toxic and pollutes our land and waterways. On a smaller scale, I maintain a garden, ride a bicycle to work every day, and try to take public transportation as an alternative to flight.
Many citizens feel that the problem is too great for any one person to solve, and that there is little they can do to make a change. The biggest challenge is to convince people that making small changes has an additive effect that can lead to effective environmental improvement. As a particular example, many cities are implementing “Meatless Mondays” at government functions, which is already saving countless liters of water and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Demanding the passage of laws that are designed to protect the environment is one way in which citizens can really make an impact on slowing the progress of climate change. We need people to stand up for science, to insist that the welfare of the planet supersedes all other matters, because without a healthy Earth, all other issues are of little importance.

Originally posted 2018-04-28 18:07:16.