America’s National Parks are special places of incomparable beauty and fascination. When the National Park Service was first created 100 years ago, it was instructed to leave these places “unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” We now live in a time when the changing climate is altering many aspects of the landscape including in many national parks. The parks are protected, but they are changing.
It is widely thought that we are in the midst of the 6th great mass extinction of species on Earth and, unlike the previous ones that were caused by things like asteroid impacts or ice ages, this one is caused by us. Our impact on the climate, on natural resources, on landscapes and habitats, and more, has wreaked havoc on ecosystems across the globe.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the National Parks and this year the largest protected area anywhere on Earth has now been created. Twice the size of Texas, the marine park also has the longest name among National Parks: it is the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.
One of the crowning achievements for wildlife protection in the US was the establishment of the National Wildlife Refuge system in the 1930s, when the populations of waterfowl were perilously low. Refuges provided breeding and migratory habitat that has allowed a remarkable recovery of many species of ducks and geese.