What would our world look like if the classic Tears For Fears song lyrics, that you’ll soon be singing along to in your head, actually went like this: everybody wants to save the world…!
You see, our actions create a ripple effect throughout the lives of our families, communities, cities, states, countries, and all across the globe.
Bringing attention to endangered species through donations, causes, or dedicated awareness days such as National Endangered Species Day and National Wildlife Day, seek to prompt such ripples in our hearts and minds, positively affecting wildlife, and their ecosystems, large and small, near and far.
For instance, when you adopt an animal on the endangered species list, did you know that you are helping to protect the animal’s natural habitat?
Did you know that adopting an endangered animal actually works to fight the threats challenging their very existence?
Recycling, reducing pollution, and incorporating sustainable farming practices also help to protect and preserve the delicate balance needed in all ecosystems.
Here at Lifeboost Coffee we acknowledge that every human and every business has an impact on the species and world around them. We believe in order to have a positive impact, we need to educate ourselves about the different footprints we leave behind us.
We want to take a moment here to learn a bit more about endangered species, how they affect our world, and what their potential absence could mean to our planet.
The More You Know
If you grew up in the 1980’s, chances are you’re familiar with the beginnings of this NBC public service announcement: “the more you know.”
This series of announcements was implemented by the NBC network in an effort to make the public aware of important issues facing our nation and our world.
Why? Because NBC realized this important concept - what we know, affects what we do!
So, what are endangered species, and why do endangered species matter?
What Are Endangered Species?
Endangered species are any and all organisms (big and small) that are threatened by extinction.
The general criteria for a species to be classified as endangered are:
- A decline in species’ population of 50-70 percent measured over 10 years or 3 generations (whichever is longer) is observed. More specifically, this refers to a population decline of 50 percent without a known cause and 70 percent when the cause is known.
- A severely shrinking geographic range is another reason a species may be listed as endangered.
- When a species population contains fewer than 2,500 mature individuals or when its population declines by more than 20 percent within 5 years or two generations, it can be classified as endangered.
- If the population of a species is restricted to 250 mature individuals, geographic conditions are not considered, and this species is classified as endangered.
- Probability of extinction is also considered when listing a species as endangered. Here experts believe 5 generations or 20 years living in the wild increases the probability of extinction by 20 percent.
When these above criteria worsen, such endangered species become critically endangered. Then, unfortunately if conditions do not improve, the species can become extinct.
And, there are many things that contribute to the creating and worsening of the criteria/conditions listed above.
Conservation biologists generally use this acronym when listing the primary causes of extinction: HIPPO
A species can lose its habitat naturally, such as is believed to have happened to the dinosaurs, for instance.
But, we unfortunately know that the human impact here is great.
In fact, experts believe today that the natural rate of extinction has increased between 1,000 and 10,000 times due to human activity and encroachment.
Deforestation, agricultural spread, water extraction, mining, and human migration all negatively affect the natural habitat of a species.
When the natural habitat of a species is destroyed, the species survival is either immediately threatened, or these animals migrate to habitats ill-suited for their survival which often result in endangerment or extinction, albeit at a slower rate.
When a new species is inadvertently placed into an existing ecosystem, this can disrupt the entire ecosystem.
In such instances, the new species can devastate natural plant life or simply overpopulate the area because the newcomer has no natural predator within the habitat to keep its population in check.
An example of such an instance occurred right after World War 2, in Guam, where cargo ships carrying supplies to the area also inadvertently carried brown tree snakes.
The brown tree snakes entered Guam, and without a natural predator in the local ecosystem, the species has wreaked havoc on the bird, fruit bat, and lizard populations in the area.
Pollution negatively affects wildlife in multiple ways.
Pollutants in the air can essentially poison wildlife, causing;
- disruption in endocrine function
- vulnerability to stress and disease
- injury to vital organs
- diminished reproductive capabilities
Pollution can also change the plant life in an ecosystem which threatens the survival of the animals living within the habitat as well as this changes the overall habitat and affects the food source of the animals living there.
Water pollution can cause harmful algaes to grow which harm or kill the animals that eat them.
Air pollution contributes to acid rain which alters the pH levels of water, endangering fish populations and other aquatic wildlife.
Acid rain is also known to kill wildlife outright, which not only threatens specific species, but causes a chain reaction throughout the ecosystem when the population of such species is altered.
Household products containing toxic metals can be transported via wastewater into aquatic ecosystems contributing to endangerment.
And, though we all have heard of the dangers of littering, this destructive practice continues to threaten the survival of wildlife as these species either mistakenly ingest toxic materials or such waste finds its way to oceans and other ecosystems where the inhabitants are threatened.
The population size of a species also has a lot to do with its likelihood of endangerment.
Small or local populations can be problematic as these can encounter difficulties in finding mates, which either leads to extinction or inbreeding. And, it likely goes without saying that inbreeding creates problems in the gene pool, often resulting in sterility, or eventually death.
And, species with small populations can also be vulnerable to natural disasters such as storms, floods, droughts, and wildfires.
Species that are rare or highly specialized can be greatly affected by changing climates or changing habitats as these often require a very specific type of habitat for survival.
In hunting, wildlife agencies often put a limit on the number of animals that can be removed (hunted) from a habitat. This is to protect that species from being over hunted, thus leading to endangerment.
But, this is also a practice put into place to protect the habitat in which these animals live. We’ll go into greater detail regarding this notion in a moment, but when too many animals are removed from an ecosystem, the natural habitat is negatively altered, thus causing a ripple effect and potentially endangering multiple species within that environment.
The same is true when it comes to harvesting plants for food.
Plants are a vital part of almost all ecosystems. Remove too much of the foundation (plants) of an ecosystem, and it crumbles.
In other words, when plants are overharvested from an area, not only are these susceptible to endangerment, but this also affects the habitat of the animals living in the area, potentially contributing to their endangerment.
When we alter a habitat for the purposes of the mass production of cash crops, and when we overharvest native plants for consumption from a given area, the wildlife in these areas can suffer.
Why Do Endangered Species Matter?
Many of you probably knew at least some generalities about the information we’ve covered thus far.
But, taking this a step further, how does the endangerment of wildlife affect individual ecosystems?
Even greater, how does the endangerment or extinction of wildlife affect our world as a whole?
Perhaps the most important thing we can learn from Disney’s The Lion King, comes from a song made wildly (pun intended) popular by this movie. Carmen Twillie and Lebo M. 's Circle Of Life teaches us regarding the animal kingdom: “It’s the circle of life, and it moves us all…”
Ecosystems thrive, and survive, on balance.
The creation and maintaining of this balance depends on a chain, a circle of life, if you will.
If this chain, specifically the food chain, is disrupted due to the endangerment or extinction of wildlife, the entire ecosystem suffers (yep, that includes us all).
If a source of prey becomes extinct, the predators must find new food sources, or they too will be threatened with extinction.
And, on the other side of this coin of balance, you’ll find that an absence of a predator can lead to an overpopulation of prey, also upsetting the balance of an ecosystem.
As humans, we share an ecosystem with these endangered species, and their absence alters our lives as well.
Some animals act as a barrier, the front line of defense protecting humans against diseases, meaning the extinction of such wildlife would put humans at greater risk for such diseases.
Some wildlife, plants and animals, are food sources for humans, meaning that our survival is dependent upon their survival.
So, to further illustrate this beautiful and necessary balance, let’s take a look at a truly beloved creature here at Lifeboost––the giraffe.
We’ll dig into the details a bit more in a moment, but if you didn’t already know this, one of the newest members of our team here at Lifeboost goes by the name Coffee Bean.
Coffee Bean is an endangered giraffe we’ve adopted from Uganda.
Two species of giraffes in Uganda, Kordofan and Nubian, are now listed as critically endangered.
These giraffes “feed on the browse that others [wildlife] cannot reach, which promotes growth of forage and opens up areas for themselves and other smaller browsers to make use of.”
Giraffes also feed on acacia trees, whose seedlings must pass through a giraffe’s digestive tract to germinate.
Scientists have observed in areas where giraffe populations are dwindling that the lack of feeding on these acacia trees has resulted in less nectar being produced by these trees which supports, or feeds, defensive ant species.
As these ant species are unable to feed on the acacia, other scale and wood-boring insects can invade the trees, interfering with the homes of yet another species of ant known to inhabit the acacia.
Giraffes both shape and sustain healthy ecosystems.
Without the giraffe, the ecosystem of the Savannah would see ripple effects that reach as far as important plant life down to even the tiniest of insects.
But, many of us are miles, oceans, even continents away from the African Savannah, so what can we do to help?
- It is important to know that no matter where you live in the world, even your local life, your local environment, your local food sources…all of this is maintained by a healthy and balanced ecosystem.
- And, just because a specific habitat or ecosystem isn’t in your locale, doesn’t mean you aren’t affected. It also doesn’t mean you can’t do your part to help preserve the world’s wildlife (and their habitats) from right where you are!
Many believe that people are the primary cause for animal endangerment or extinction, meaning there are too many people consuming the world’s resources, thereby prompting the notion that controlling the human population is the only answer.
But, a simple look at human relationships and what causes them to deteriorate may paint another picture.
Human relationships suffer when there is a lack of care and respect for each party in the relationship.
It’s no different when looking at our relationship to the other species in our world.
We just saw the detriment to draining animal populations, to think that limiting human populations wouldn’t have consequences unforeseen seems a bit reckless.
When we educate ourselves, care for the species we share this world with, and respect such species and their habitats, we can have a profound impact!
At Lifeboost, as a company we impact the environment and the species living in it in the following ways:
- We partner with small farms.
Here, we’re specifically speaking of our Lifeboost Africa coffee which is shade grown and sun dried in the foothills of Mt. Elgon in Uganda. By using sustainable farming practices and paying our farmers a fair wage, we are protecting both the environment and our farmers as well as the communities they live in.
- These sustainable farming practices encourage biodiversity and avoid polluting the ecosystems where our coffee is grown, meaning we never use pesticides or chemicals.
The wildlife living in the areas where our coffee grows helps to enhance our product. Natural predators keep harmful insects from destroying our crops. Native wildlife fertilizes both the coffee plants as well as the local plant life that provides shade for our coffee beans to fully grow to maturity.
And, speaking of coffee beans, our giraffe, Coffee Bean, was able to be adopted through the proceeds of Lifeboost Africa, one of twelve charities we give to in Uganda.
Coffee Bean is listed as a critically endangered species in Uganda, and by adopting him, not only is he protected, but he serves to help educate others regarding the problems facing wildlife in this region.
- Through the other charities we support in Uganda, the pressing needs of our farmers as well as their communities are addressed (such as building schools, providing clean water and lunches for school children, supporting women business owners in the area, combating child trafficking, supporting animal shelters, and again, protecting critically endangered species through adoption).
As a Lifeboost customer, you impact the environment and the species living in it in the following ways:
- When you choose Lifeboost Africa, you are making the choice to support sustainable farming practices.
Many cash crop coffee farmers grow their coffee in deforested regions on large plantations using pesticides and fertilizers that pollute aquatic ecosystems as well as destroy habitats of native wildlife species.
- When you choose Lifeboost Africa, a portion of the proceeds go to supporting the plant life (buying new coffee shrubs for local farmers to plant).
- When you choose Lifeboost Africa, a portion of the proceeds go directly to saving the rainforests and the wildlife living there as Lifeboost is a Rainforest Trust Sponsor.
- When you choose Lifeboost Africa, a portion of the proceeds go to fight the endangerment of two subspecies of giraffes in Uganda, the Kordofan and Nubian giraffes. Already, we’ve welcomed Coffee Bean to our Lifeboost family with your help!
- When you choose Lifeboost Africa, a portion of the proceeds go to supporting Uganda’s first animal shelter.
- When you choose Lifeboost Africa, a portion of the proceeds provide clean water for Uganda’s children…as well as more than 6 other charities!
Even making the choice to bundle your Lifeboost Africa purchase, taking advantage of our amazing buy 2 get 1 free, or buy 4 get 2 free, deals helps us to buy more beans from our farmers in bulk, and it can help to reduce your carbon footprint, thereby reducing greenhouse emissions and improving air quality for us and the wildlife we share our planet with.
We’ve discussed the various ways our coffee farmers, primarily through their growing practices, seek to help the environment.
And, we’ve shared with you the ways we, as a company, and you, as a customer, help to protect and preserve the wildlife and our environment as a whole.
But, what is Lifeboost Africa?
What can you expect from these coffee beans…no, not the giraffe this time, here I’m referring to the actual coffee beans. :)
Lifeboost Africa is certified organic and non-GMO.
Shade grown and sun-dried in the foothills of Mt. Elgon, in the Sipi Falls region of Uganda, Lifeboost Africa coffee is single origin, fairly traded, pesticide free, chemical free, and rich in antioxidants.
Like all of our coffee, Lifeboost Africa is 3rd party tested for mycotoxins, molds, heavy metals, and 400+ other toxins to ensure you are drinking the cleanest coffee possible.
Lifeboost Africa coffee beans are high altitude specialty beans that are shade grown, representing one of the world’s most affordable luxuries.
And, Lifeboost Africa is pH tested to be up to 27.7% less acidic than common store-bought coffees.
Best of all, you’re not only benefiting your health (and your tastebuds) when choosing Lifeboost Africa, you’re also benefiting the people and wildlife of Uganda with your purchase as well, as a portion of the proceeds go to help support twelve different charities in the region where our farmers live and grow this delicious, clean, and healthy coffee.