FORT COLLINS, Colo. (October 10, 2019) – Today, the National Audubon Society announced a groundbreaking climate report, Survival by Degrees: 389 Bird Species on the Brink. “Two-thirds of America’s birds are threatened with extinction from climate change, but keeping global temperatures down will help up to 76 percent of them. There’s hope in this report, but first, it’ll break your heart if you care about birds and what they tell us about the ecosystems we share with them. It’s a bird emergency,” said David Yarnold, (@david_yarnold), CEO and president of Audubon.
“Nearly half of Utah’s bird species are threatened with extinction from climate change. Utah birds such as the Long-billed Curlew, Sagebrush Sparrow, and Mountain Chickadee are among the species most threatened by climate change,” said Alison Holloran, executive director of Audubon Rockies, the regional Audubon office for Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado.
Extreme spring heat is the climate-related threat affecting the most species in Utah, followed by fire weather. “This is not just a bird issue. The threats facing our birds, such as increased wildfire and drought, also threaten the forests and rivers that Utah’s communities and economy depend on,” said Holloran.
Audubon scientists studied 604 North American bird species using 140 million bird records, including observational data from bird lovers and field biologists across the country.
They used these data to create Audubon’s zip code-based tool, the Birds and Climate Visualizer, which helps users understand the impacts to birds where they live, making climate change even more local, immediate and, for tens of millions of bird fans, deeply personal.
“Utah is home to incredible birdlife, such as the millions of breeding and migratory shorebirds, waterbirds and waterfowl that rely on the critically important habitat of Great Salt Lake and its surrounding wetlands, including Audubon’s Gillmor Sanctuary, each year. We need to take swift action to keep Utah a place where birds can thrive,” said Holloran.
“We already know what we need to do to reduce global warming, and we already have a lot of the tools we need to take those steps. Now, what we need are more people committed to making sure those solutions are put into practice,” said Renee Stone, vice president of climate for the National Audubon Society. “Our elected officials at every level of government must hear from their constituents that this is a priority. Audubon is committed to protecting the places birds need now and in the future and taking action to address the root causes of climate change.”
Audubon has outlined five key steps:
- Reduce your use of energy at home and ask your elected officials to support energy-saving policies that reduce the overall demand for electricity and that save consumers money.
- Ask your elected officials to expand responsibly-sited, bird-friendly, consumer-driven clean energy development that grows jobs in your community–like solar or wind power.
- Reduce the amount of carbon pollution released into the atmosphere. In order to drive down carbon emissions, we will need innovative economy-wide solutions that address every sector of the economy–like a fee on carbon. Another option is to address carbon emissions one sector at a time like setting a clean energy standard for electricity generation.
- Advocate for natural solutions, from increasing wetlands along coasts and rivers that absorb soaking rains to protecting forests and grasslands that are homes to birds and serve as carbon storage banks, and putting native plants everywhere to help birds adapt to climate change.
- Ask elected leaders to be climate and conservation champions.
To learn how you can help Audubon fight climate change in Utah through wetland conservation, conservation ranching, responsible energy development, and native gardening please visit rockies.audubon.org/climate.
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.
Audubon Rockies, the regional Audubon office for Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado, conserves and restores natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity. Learn more at rockies.audubon.org and by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @audubonrockies.