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100 nature images for Earth Day

Biodiversity – from tigers in Bhutan to gila monsters in the United States to Horned beetles in Africa to tube worms in hydrothermal vents in the deep ocean to sea cucumbers living on the coral reefs of Madagascar to the mites on your cheese – is makes life on Earth livable for our species. By extinguishing hotbeds of biodiversity – rainforests, wetlands, coral reefs, and grasslands – we are destroying a part of ourselves. Biodiversity will recover after humanity is gone, but in the meantime, the continuing loss of our fellow species will make Earth an awfully crowded, but lonely place.

Past extinctions have shown it takes at least 5 million years to restore biodiversity to the level equal to that prior of the extinction event event. Our actions today will determine whether Earth will be biologically impoverished for the 500 trillion or more humans that will inhabit the earth during that future period.

The extinction event that is occurring as you read these words rivals the extinctions caused by natural disasters of global ice ages, planetary collisions, atmospheric poisoning, and variations in solar radiation. The difference is that this extinction was conceived by humans and subject to human decisions. We are the last, best hope for life as we prefer it on this planet.

The lesson of is we may not have to accept this future. A lot can still be done. Using our intelligence and ingenuity, the human species can preserve biodiversity and unique places for future generations, without compromising the quality of life for present populations.

These pictures represent a celebration and a reminder of life that surrounds us.

Gmelin’s Bronzeback snake (Dendrelaphis pictus) eating a frog in Malaysia

Colorado River, Grand Canyon

Mountains near Muzagata Peak, China

Panther chameleon, Madagascar

Black-handed Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) in Beilze

White-faced capuchin in Hacienda Baru

Stick Mantid, Madagascar

Male ostrich defending chicks, Tanzania

Blue-and-yellow macaws flying toward clay lick, Peru

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Tenrec, Madagascar

Pair of plains zebra, Kenya

Baby caiman, Costa Rica

Red Leaf-monkey (Presbytis rubicunda) in Borneo

Pitcher plant, Nepenthes reinwardtiana, in rain forest of Borneo, Indonesia

Tomato frog, Madagascar

Sunset in Roatan, Honduras

Ring-tailed lemurs, Madagascar

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Little Colorado River, Grand Canyon

Clear-wing butterfly (Pseudohaeterea hypaesia, Colombia

Lion cubs, Tanzania

Sunset on the Mekong near Luang Prabang, Laos

Young lowland gorilla, Gabon

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean, Maui

Sunrise near Hana on the island of Maui, Hawaii.

Swordplants in the Pantanal, Brazil

Cabybara, Brazil

Tree climbing lion, Uganda

Cancun sunset, Mexico

The cryptic short-tailed Nighthawk (Lurocalis semitorquatus) in Costa Rica

Danum river in Malaysia

Moth on the underside of a leaf caught by the sun, Costa Rica

Rhea in the Pantanal, Brazil

Jaguar in Brazil

Humpback whales breaching, Alaska

Jabiru stork, Brazil

Hatchling Olive Ridley sea turtle near Hacienda Baru, Costa Rica

Black Caiman, Brazil

Baobabs, Madagascar

Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) in flight over crashing surf, Costa Rica

Ranomafana, Madagascar

Adult Male Orangutan, Indonesia

Blueberry poison arrow frog, Panama

Big Sur, Big Sur

Reefs off Cancun, Mexico

Swarms of lake flies in a garden near Lake Victoria, Uganda

Ring-tailed lemurs, Madagascar

Praying mantis in Brownsberg National Park, Suriname

Metallic green, yellow, and copper colored beetle in Malaysia

Rainbow racerunner, Honduras

Two young brown bears on a rocky beach in Alaska, Alaska

Olive Ridley sea turtle headed out to see near Dominical, Costa Rica

Female lion with wildebeest kill, Tanzania

Entrance to St. Herman’s Cave in Belize

Red frog in Las Cruces, Costa Rica

Tree frog in Costa Rica

Automeris moth caterpillar displaying its neon green but venemous spines, Colombia

Hatchling Olive ridley sea turtles headed out to sea

Mountains in Utah, United States

Virgin River in Zion National Park, Utah

Sunset over Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

African elephant, Uganda

Blue and yellow macaw, Colombia

Canyon des Singes in Isalo, Madagascar

Blue insect in Borneo

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