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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: September 1, 2017 10:32 AM
From: Representative Stephen McCarter
To: All House members
Subject: Resolution Designating the Month of October 2017 as “Biodiversity Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania
In the near future, I plan to introduce a resolution that would designate the month of October 2017 as “Biodiversity Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania.

According to the American Heritage Science Dictionary, “biodiversity” is defined as “the number, variety, and genetic variation of different organisms found within a specified geographic region.” However, the use of the term “biodiversity” can encompass several aspects of the natural world. Beyond the total number of different and distinct species, biodiversity can be used to describe an ecosystem or the distinct genetic differences among a particular species in which some members have developed certain unique characteristics based on their geographic location and environment, leading to the establishment of certain endemic species that only live within a specific area.

The 2014 World Wildlife Fund’s publication, “Living Planet Report,” found that wildlife populations of vertebrate species have declined by 52 percent over the past 40 years and has cited the consequences of human activities as being directly responsible for the alarming decline and in some cases, the extinction of certain species. Climate change, the clearing of natural habitats due to increased human development and the expansion of agriculture, overfishing, poaching, and illegal wildlife trafficking have all contributed to the decrease in species’ populations located throughout the world.

In her recently published book, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, author Elizabeth Kolbert states that there have been five mass extinctions in the history of life on Earth. However, unlike the previous five, the world may currently be facing a possible sixth extinction due specifically to manmade activities. Kolbert contends that, “The qualities that made us human to begin with: our restlessness, our creativity, our ability to cooperate to solve problems, and complete complicated tasks are leading us to change the world so rapidly and profoundly that other species can’t keep up.” Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that people be made aware and educated on the importance of biodiversity and commit to working towards maintaining the Earth’s unique and fascinating species.

I hope you will join me in sponsoring this important resolution.

Introduced as HR497