There is no other agent or living creature on the planet with a greater impact on the environment than us, humans. In our continuous greed of eating up resources, space, air and whatnot, we fail to see how our way of living is hurting everything else around us. The bad impact we have is measurable; there are now species in the US threatened to become extinct, for the sole reason that we care for naught.
You may know it or not, but we do have panthers here in the US. Or, more correctly said, we still do have panthers, because they are really in danger of going extinct. The Florida panther used to reign supreme in the south and southeastern areas of the US, but, right now, these majestic animals only take up a very little area located in South Florida. Although it has been on the list of endangered species since 1967, the continuous urban development in Florida brought the number of these felines down to just 100.
Sea turtles need the coast to nest their eggs, and leave them there to hatch in peace, but a lot has changed during recent years. Even since the beaches have been occupied by humans, the Loggerhead sea turtle has had a harder and harder time to reproduce. All kinds of tortures were used to destroy these beautiful animals, from overharvesting their eggs, to death by accident, as the sea turtles got caught in commercial fishing gear. On Florida beaches, there is now a constant effort to help the sea turtles nest and reproduce, and small steps seem to be headed in the right direction.
Another species of animals reduced to just about 100 individuals is the Mississippi gopher frog. These individuals still live in the wild, and some efforts are being made to help them reproduce, as 7,000 acres were declared the protected habitat for this species of frog. They still exist in three ponds located not far from Tradition, a town in Mississippi. Any plans of development for the town would put the small creature in absolute danger.
The vast stretches of white to the north are often seen by humans as being pristine and untouched, but this is no longer the case. Even where the actual expansion of human settlements is reduced, like Alaska, there are still effects of the global warming and pollution that push animals further and further up north, until they have no place to go. The polar bear is one of the most affected species on the planet, with global warming being the main culprit. This is where we could all contribute by driving less, using energy efficient light bulbs and overall reducing our carbon footprint.
There are many other species of animals endangered in the US, but it would take an entire book to talk about them all. What I would like everyone to learn from this is that no matter where you live and what you do, you can do something for our Mother Nature, too, by choosing to live a cleaner, more environmentally friendly life.