One issue that has been a controversy is the preservation of endangered species. Ever since the 1960’s, scientists have been fighting for laws and acts to protect animals and plants in keeping them in good health and their populations high in numbers. The problem is animals and plants are having trouble surviving in today’s world which leads them to be classified as endangered or threatened. Endangered, meaning animals or plants with little population that the species could soon become extinct and threatened is less severe and basically just means that they are close to becoming endangered.
By species becoming endangered, this affects our habitat’s biodiversity. Today, however, human beings are dependent for their food, health, well-being and enjoyment of life on fundamental biological systems and processes. Humans derive all of its food and many medicines and industrial products from the wild and without biological diversity these actions could not take place. Overall, major concern is stressed over this topic not only for species well-being, but for our strength and our environment.
The law has a major impact on life sciences. Many acts and laws have been passed and through the years even revised to help benefit the species. The first act is a major act in dealing with this subject .The Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966 and the Endangered Species Conservation act of 1969 was to demonstrate the stress on trying to protect endangered species. Although they weren’t that effective. So on December 28, 1973, Richard M. Nixon signs the Endangered Species Act, which leads to the rise of environmental protection legislation. This law makes it illegal for Americans to import or trade in any product made from an endangered or threatened species unless it is used for an approved scientific purpose or to enhance the survival of the species. Also the endangered species on this list cannot be hunted , killed, collected, or injured in the United States. This law is said to be the toughest environmental law. Of course that isn’t the only law that affected or aided conservation. The convention of International Trade in Endangered Species, also known as CITES was amended in 1975. As of 1993, it was signed by 120 countries and lists 675 species that cannot be commercially traded as live specimens or wildlife products because they are endangered or threatened. Another recent act is the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1994. The US congress passed this to provide resources to conservations programs focused on saving these endangered species. This year Congress should be making a revisable copy and figure out the spending on these animals. There are many other acts like the African Elephant Conservation Act of 1988 which is to assist the conservation and protection of African elephants. The Lacey Act of 1990, which prohibits import, export, transportation, sale, or purchase of fish, wildlife, or plants that are taken in violation of any Federal, State, tribal or foreign law. And lastly there is the Eagle Protection Act which began in 1940. This act makes it unlawful to import, export, take, sell, purchase, or barter any bald eagle or golden eagle, even if its just their parts. All of these acts are dealing with this issue directly, which is not the case all the time.
Many laws are put into effect for another issue but indirectly help the preservations of animals and plants. One example would be the Clean Air Act of 1990. It was amended in 1970. This act was to place limits on industrial pollutants that cause acid rain, called for reductions in toxic and carcinogenic chemicals released by U.S. factories and reduction in automobile emissions; included reductions of 50 percent in industrial emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, 70 percent in carbon monoxide from automobiles, and 20 percent in other emissions; 250 toxic chemicals were to be monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency; and industries would be required to use the best technology to prevent such wastes. The reason for this act was pollution but it does help out endangered species. It helps their health which helps their population grow.
Although it’s not a subject you hear about all the time in the media or just in everyday conversation, but the percentages of endangered animals and endangered species are high. One-fourth of the world’s species of mammals are threatened with extinction. Half of that number may be gone in a decade. . There is 77 species of Cetacea, 4 species of Sirenia, 113 species of primates and 99 species or Carnivora are included. From 1970 to 1993 the number for United States only species on the Endangered and Threatened list grew about eight times bigger from 92 to 775. Up to 100 species become extinct every day. Scientists estimate that the total number of species lost each year may climb to 40,000 by the year 2000, a rate far exceeding any in the last 65 million years. Most of these facts are just focusing on the endangerment of animals. But there is an alarming number of 19,000 plant species that are endangered too. Plants are just as important to preserve for they are part of our biodiversity also.
There are many reasons for the cause of endangerment. One main reason is mankind destruction. The environment is always changing but when it is a natural change, individuals adapt. When the pace of change of the habitat is greatly accelerated, there may be no time for the species to react to the new circumstances. Such human activities as pollution, drainage of wetlands, conversion of shrub lands to grazing lands, cutting and clearing of forests, urbanization, coral-reef destruction, and road and dam construction have destroyed or seriously damaged and fragmented available habitats. This is the reason that rapid habitat loss is regarded as the main cause of endangerment. Another cause could be an introduction of an exotic species. When a foreign species intentionally or accidentally is introduced in a new setting it will cause problems to the native species. Such problems may be preying or competition. A third reason is overexploitation. This refers to the utilization of the species at a rate that would make them endangered. Other factors are involved in the cause for this but these are the main reasons. Knowing what causes endangerment is a major key to helping the situation. This not only helps environmentalists but Congress and legislators in making decisions and actions that could contribute in making laws to stop endangerment.
Many acts were passed to help the preservation of species, but everyday issues are discussed and new laws are underway. This is essential in helping species and our environment in being beneficial. If law was not conveyed, then every animal and plant would be extinct, which would lead to the extinction of humans. Many current issues are always being discussed in United States legislation and in other countries. Japan is again at war with conservationists over proposals to resume trading in whales, elephant ivory and marine turtles. Canada unveiled its first-ever bill designed to protect endangered species from extinction on April 11, a measure that would impose stiff fines and prison sentences on those guilty of harming rare flora and fauna. In the United States, a current issue was when President Clinton’s $1.84 trillion budget for fiscal year 2001, includes a record $250 million increase for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These are just a couple of issues that have been discussed and that have been in the environmental law spotlight. Everyday there are current event issues that have new legislation pending. The most current one is the National Marine Fisheries Service is scheduled to complete its study of ways to save endangered salmon and trout population in the Columbia river system, including a controversial proposal to breach four hydroelectric dams on the lower Snake River.
An important issue is always ways to help. There are many things that people can do to help wildlife. To people this might not seem like its worth their time but even helping out locally, in the neighborhood, really ends up helping nationally. Finding groups that are working to conserve or rehabilitate our habitat to join, recycle and reuse, write to local politicians, consider a career in wildlife, or volunteer to assists groups in endangered species projects.
A simple but effective way to help endangered species to survive is by joining clubs that aim to protect and conserve nature and wildlife. By giving them a small amount on a frequent basis you support them and make it possible for them to set up campaigns, reservations etc. Many organizations having been fighting and been very successful in getting laws passed. Some of these organizations are Green peace, WWF (World Wide Fund For Nature), Conservation International, and The Nature Conversancy. Some of these are non-political but they do have one thing in common, which is to help endangered species.
Life Science and the law is a topic that shouldn’t be taken so lightly. It effects not only animals and plants but the earths biodiversity which affects humans. It is also known as environmental law. By having these laws and acts, it helps preservation. Plants and animals hold medicinal, agricultural, ecological, commercial, and recreational value. By protecting then future generations can experience presence and value.
I leave with this quote which helps sum up the importance of the of conservation.
“We are all one. Birds, plants, animals, minerals – we are all different manifestations of the same essential energy. Our way ahead, our searches and dreams are the molecular expression of the life experience of everything that makes up our planet. By caring for it, we will help each other to grow.”
– Alejandro Lerner, Alejandro Lerner is an Argentinean writer and composer
1)Dubay, Denis. Environmental Science. ed. 3 vols. GeoSystems Global Corporation, 1999.
2)Gwinn, Robert. The New Encyclopedia Britannica. ed. 15 vols., 1992.
3)Bryant, Peter. “Endangered Species Conservation” Online, April 12, 2000.
4)Tuerek, Karen. “Protecting Endangered Species: A Citizens’s Alert for Legislative Action” Online, April 2000
5) Environmental News Network. Online. http://www.enn.com. Accessed April 14, 2000
Cite this Life Science and the Law
Life Science and the Law. (2018, Jun 28). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/life-science-and-the-law-essay/