Notable Voices Commemorate Wildlife Conservation Law in New Book
This month marks the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act – our nation’s safety net for fish, plants and wildlife on the brink of extinction – and the Endangered Species Coalition is marking the anniversary with the release of a beautiful new book. A Wild Success: The Endangered Species Act at 40 is a collection of essays, quotes and stories from a broad spectrum of Americans, the famous and the not-so famous. The book also includes some of the finest photographs ever taken of imperiled species.
The book features essays from some of the most important conservation leaders of our time, as well as new voices for wildlife, including an actor, an ambassador, an architect, an artist, an astronaut, a businesswoman, a CEO, a chef, a coach, an engineer, farmers and ranchers, a fashion designer, a filmmaker, a military official, a mountain climber, a musician, a poet, a photographer, and a faith leader.
There are ninety-six authors featured in the book, including actor Ed Begley, Jr.; David Yarnold, President and CEO, National Audubon Society; Joel Sartore, photographer and fellow at the National Geographic Society; Kate Spade, designer, Kate Spade New York; Mary Oliver, Pulitzer Prize Winning poet; and explorer Philippe Cousteau.
Here is a sampling of excerpts from A Wild Success:
“Protecting this Nation’s wildlife and our public lands should never be a partisan or political issue; it should be about common sense…I’ve always said that no generation inherits this earth, we simply borrow it from future generations.” – Congressman John Dingell (MI-12), original co-sponsor of the Endangered Species Act.
“Without certain species of wildlife, I can’t imagine that I would be able to create my designs.” – Kate Spade, designer, Kate Spade New York
“The beauty of the Endangered Species Act is that it is a federal act of empathy, put into writing and upheld by law. It is an elegant act of mind and heart that is both visionary and inclusive.” – Terry Tempest Williams, author, naturalist, and conservationist.
You can download the entire book here or read the essays online here.
According to a 2011 public opinion poll, 84 percent of Americans support the Endangered Species Act, including strong majorities in all regions of the United States and both major political party affiliations.
When President Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act into law on December 28, 1973, he announced, “Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed. It is a many-faceted treasure, of value to scholars, scientists, and nature lovers alike, and it forms a vital part of the heritage we all share as Americans.”
More than 1,300 imperiled species of plants, fish and wildlife in the United States have been protected by the Endangered Species Act, and only ten have gone extinct since the Act became law, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (Most of those ten were extinct before they were even added to the list.) Additionally, a recent study of 110 protected species found that 90 percent are recovering at the pace expected in their scientific recovery plans. Biologists have indicated that the task of recovering a species from near-extinction is a decades-long endeavor.
“Any law would be fortunate to have the kind of record that the Endangered Species Act does,” said Leda Huta, Executive Director of the Endangered Species Coalition. “Turning 40 never looked so good. To bring species after species back from the very edge of extinction—that kind of success is a remarkable testament to what we Americans have accomplished.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a special webpage celebrating the 40th anniversary of our nation’s safety net for fish, plants and wildlife on the brink of extinction.