Because the most important things on this planet are not things...

Houston is making great strides to encourage healthy habitats and conscientious urban planning. Houston and the state of Texas have numerous resources to help you. From practicing environmentally-conscious buying decisions to decreasing chemical use on outdoor spaces, we can be better co-habitants of the planet and help keep our wildlife numbers healthy — before more species become just a myth.

Earth Day should be everyday, but we get a nice reminder in Houston on April 11, 2015 at Discovery Green. Join your fellow Houstonians in learning a lot more about how to be more responsible stewards of our future.

Extinctions

(2000-2015)

This century alone has seen the permanent loss of over 10 different plant and animal species; one of the highest rates of mass population loss that we've ever seen before.

  • Pyrenean Ibex

    (2000)
  • Baiji Dolphin

    (2006)
  • Liverpool Pigeon

    (2008)
  • Alaotra Grepe

    (2010)
  • Eastern Cougar

    (2011)
  • Western Black Rhino

    (2011)
  • Japanese River Otter

    (2012)
  • Pinta Island Tortoise

    (2012)
  • Cape Verde Skink

    (2013)
  • Formosan Clouded Leopard

    (2013)
  • Scioto Matdom

    (2013)
  • Bermuda Saw-Whet Owl

    (2014)

Endangered

Our state and, in particular, our Gulf Coast, serves as an important habitat for key species in our ecosystem. The threats to coastal habitats have a ripple effect across the state and oceans and have caused the endangerment of the animals below. Keep reading to learn how we can help decrease human impact.

  • Bigeye Thresher Shark
  • Common Thresher Shark
  • Wheeler's Pearly Mussel
  • Bombus Fraternus
  • Morrison Bumble Bee
  • Calathaemon Holthuisi
  • Oceanic Whitetip Shark
  • Dusky Shark
  • Sandbar Shark
  • Texas Kangaroo Rat
  • Wheeler's Pearly Mussel
  • Triangle Pigtoe
  • False Spike
  • Cagle's Map Turtle
  • Shortfin Mako
  • Giant Manta Ray
  • Smalleye Shiner
  • Southern Hickorynut
  • Balcones Cave Shrimp
  • Paddlefish
  • Brazoria Crayfish
  • Naegele Springsnail
  • Shovelnose Sturgeon
  • Texas Emerald
  • Scalloped Hammerhead
  • Squat-headed Hammerhead Shark
  • Robust Cottontail
  • Eastern Box Turtle
  • Mexican Plateau Slider
  • Brune Spring Snail
  • Devil Tryonia

*This list is for Texas endangered and vulnerable species. For a more comprehensive list of our world's endangered species, you can visit iucnredlist.org.

How did we get here? What can we do?

The growth of a community creates certain needs, but being conscious of the decisions we make to meet those needs without harming the environment or wildlife around us is a critical part of securing a healthy future for future generations. Far too often our oversights have caused damage to the wildlife the habitats they populate. Humans have altered the course of natural processes and the delicate balance of ecosystems, all with varying results. Habitat loss, the use of deadly insecticides, and over harvesting are all examples of ways that humans harm the planet. What can you do to keep land and air animals from becoming myths?

  • Consider the importance of the role native animal and plant species when developing land
  • Limit your use of any of the -cides (herbicides, insecticides, etc). Look for natural solutions to manage insects and unwanted flora
  • Keep all water free from unnatural pollutants
  • Avoid introducing non-native species of plants or animals to land or water

Because the Houston-Gulf Coast economy relies heavily on the fishing industry, we run the risk of over-harvesting our waters. While taking as many fish as possible in a year will earn success in the short-term, this leads to less reproduction and smaller harvests each successive year. Responsible harvesting can help alleviate this problem and keep the seas healthy. Sea life is some of our last wild caught food on the planet. What can you do to keep our seas healthy? Practice habits that tell stores and restaurants that we are conscious consumers:

  • Know where your seafood comes from
  • Educate yourself on sustainable seafood
  • Ask for sustainably raised seafood at your local supermarket or restaurant

Resources

This information is by no means comprehensive. Only you are in charge of your actions and education. We hope you'll continue to learn, share and act.

Sightings