As I’ve mentioned before, frogs and other amphibians are doing about as well as the global financial system. The good news is that even though the Year of the Frog (2008) is over, we still have the first annual Save the Frogs Day to get hopped up about the plight of amphibians. Happy Save the Frogs Day!
Besides frogs being indicators of ecosystem health, keeping Egyptian Pharaohs in check, and helping create breakthroughs in medicine, I’ve found another handy reason to support amphibian conservation: saving frogs fights climate change!
Let’s examine a list of top threats to frogs:
- habit destruction from changing land use
- climate change
- disease (especially from the icky chytrid fungus)
- pollution (especially from pesticides)
- invasive species
- over-harvesting for the pet and food trade
Now let’s look at how addressing these threats fights climate change:
- habit destruction: smart urban planning reduces sprawl and protects wetlands and green space, thus lowering greenhouse gas emissions from individual transportation, increasing albedo, reducing the heat island effect, and sequestering carbon through preserved vegetation
- climate change: seems like a no-brainer
- disease: a warmer climate often aids or speeds the spread of parasites and infectious diseases
- pollution: reducing home, yard, and agricultural pesticide use prevents excessive nutrient runoff into waterways (creating dead zones that kill aquatic plants and animals) and lowers production of petrochemical-based chemicals that contribute to climate change
- invasive species: many invasive species are aided in their spread to new habitats by human transport and a warming climate
- roadkill: this is a big problem for frogs [PDF] — at least dating back to Frogger — so driving less and building fewer roads spares frogs and reduces carbon emissions
- over-harvesting: maybe a stretch but there are greenhouse gas emissions involved in the transport of pets and food all over the world
In honor of Save the Frogs Day, learn more about threats to amphibians worldwide, tell your representative that you support strong climate legislation, and blow a virtual kiss to frogs via these and these handy tips for frog-friendly living.