Natural world in danger

You have never seen a dodo. Your friends and teachers have never seen a dodo. Your grandparents never saw a dodo. The last of these large birds that couldn’t fly died many years ago. Now it is extinct. We even say “as dead as a dodo”, which means “finished”. Your great-grandparents may just have seen a passenger pigeon: the last one died in 1914. A lot more endangered species – fish, reptiles, insects, birds, mammals – may disappear before you have children. The reason is Man that kills animals and destroys their habitats.

It is not just animals that are in danger. So are plants. The world had over nine million sq. km. of forests. This is a lot of trees, and also a lot of different species of trees. But they are disappearing fast. Every day we use paper and cardboard, both made from wood. We use different kinds of wood in furniture and in other ways. Every year over 100 000 sq. km. of forests are cleared for different uses, and a lot of forests are so badly damaged that they will hardly be able to recover. If we go on like this, by the time you are as old as your grandparents are now all the forests on earth can be destroyed. This includes rainforests in South America, Africa and Asia. The huge forests help to control the world’s weather, and to produce much of the oxygen in the air. There are many illnesses which we still cannot cure. There are old ones like cancer2 and new ones like AIDS. It may be that the medicines we need will be discovered in wild plants in savannas, deserts or rainforests. If we destroy these places, we will never find the cure.

So you see, that it is not just children who need a healthy space to live and grow. If we want our lives to be healthy and interesting, a lot of other creatures and plants need growing space too.

Look through the text again and answer these questions.

Have people living in the 20th century ever seen a dodo?
What is a dodo? Could you call it an extinct species?
What endangered species of plants and animals can you remember?
Why are forests on the planet disappearing fast?
How does this fact influence the life of people, animals and plants?
Why are rainforests so important for the life on the earth?
How can wild plants in savannas, deserts and rainforests help to cure people?
What should be remembered if we want to have a healthy life in future?

These are four good reasons why we must protect wildlife. Develop these ideas.

Forests (especially rainforests) control the world’s weather.
Plants produce much of the oxygen in the air, which people need for breathing.
Wild plants can help to produce some medicines to cure dangerous diseases.
A lot of species of plants and animals are disappearing fast and can become extinct very soon.

Natural world in danger