Welcome to another edition of What We Killed This Thursday.
Dracaena umbraculifera, Umbrella dracaena, was found on Mauritius in 1797. It was propagated and grown by plant collectors and is found in several botanic gardens, but has not been seen in the wild since the original description.
Mauritius is a fairly remote island with relatively few species. However, over half of the 670 species of flowering plants on the island are found nowhere else in the world. This island is famous for its extinctions – it was the home of the dodo. Development and tourism along with invasive species threaten the very interesting and very rare plants and animals on Mauritius. Luckily, at least two wonderful conservation organizations are hard at work on the island – the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation and the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.
But threats like invasive species, development, and tourism pale in comparison to the threats posed by climate change. While we are on track to exceed the worst case scenarios presented in the IPCC reports, major political figures are still denying that global warming is real and the majority of the public not only doesn’t care, a large percentage think that climate change news is exaggerated. So this week I’m not going to ask you to write a letter to a politician. Instead, I encourage you to talk to your friends, your mom, your neighbor, a stranger on the bus about the hard realities of climate change. If you don’t feel like you have enough information, take a look at these sites from the E.P.A., National Geographic, and the Pew Center. I’ve mentioned it a few times, too.