Open Thread: Which Eco-Issue Keeps You Up at Night?

Our former colleague and friend Scott Anderson over at The Green Skeptic posed (and answered) a great question last week — which issue keeps you up at night?

Is it climate change? Species loss? Ocean pollution? Enviromental refugees? That young people don’t get out into nature anymore? Or something else? Don’t bottle it up inside — leave a comment below and let us know. (The first step toward calming your anxiety is to let it out…just let it all out…)

If you believe in the work we’re doing, please lend a hand.


  1. It all boils down to one thing for me: We still haven’t found the key — the phrase, the talking points, the song, the movie — that’s going to tug at people’s heartstrings and create an mass U.S. movement back towards environmentalism and a conservation ethic. Will it take a disaster? A chain of disasters?

    Oh, and also…what are we going to talk about when Copenhagen is over?

  2. My #1: Getting people to care about species and habitat.

  3. ….Species…and forests…keep me up or it gives me nightmares…

  4. Antarctic ice sheets–over a mile thick–melting enough on the bottom to slide off into the ocean all at once. There is pretty good evidence from North Atlantic diatom studies that this happen to the eastern ice sheet in North America. The result was ocean level rise and eventual warming, but the immediate effect was 1,000 years of sudden cooling due to the big ice cube taking a very long time to melt. This could easily happen to the Antarctic ice sheets, it’s even likely.

  5. In geologic terms I know the earth will survive us. But in the meantime are we going to create a planet that is simply an awful place to live? Will we destroy everything that makes the earth so amazing by wiping out the fish, killing the coral reefs, cutting down all the ancient forests and relegating what is left of our incredible wildlife diversity to zoos? I agree with an earlier commenter. How bad will it have to be before we get it?

  6. Why do people in Washington, D.C. clean up the leaves from their yards and then put them in plastic garbage bags!!! Paper Leaf Bags people!!

  7. For me, it is the fact that society seems to be in no rush to adopt alternative energy solutions on a personal level, they just want others to do it for them.

  8. Urban/suburban sprawl and development really drives me crazy. Poor land use and encroachment on habitats and native species. In Louisiana this is a growing problem for us, and something that we KNOW we can change within our own communities. It’s so frustrating when people don’t seem to care.

  9. This is so minor in the scheme of things, but the little things do add up right. Why do people in Washington, DC clean up the leaves from their yards and stuff them in plastic garbage bags!! Do paper lawn and leaf bags not exist in the DC area?

    For me it is one step at a time, and it has to affect an individual directly or they are not likely to react.

  10. The growing world population and our collective inability to take the long view and find ways to preserve the natural systems that ultimately sustain us all.

  11. What kept me up last night at least (it changes every day) was the future for my kids. Do I move to the country and raise them in a more rural environment where they are exposed to nature as a part of their everyday lives? Do I stay on the urban fringe where they are part of a diverse and socially active community where they are raised with a sense of social and environmental justice? Can I find a happy medium and actually achieve both?

    And for Bob, I think we will have MORE than enough to keep talking about after Copenhagen!!

  12. Dare I say it, without being called anti-people? Our growing population keeps me up at night! No one wants to admit it’s a problem. We’re growing at an alarming rate. I see growing pains that can be traced back to “too many people” in nearly every issue we face. But, how do you limit population? So many of us feel entitled to the American dream that includes our 2.5 children (me too!). I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to touch it… but, alas, it keeps me up at night.

  13. My father (raised by my grandfather, a Rancher) always told me that “one generation plants the seeds so the next will enjoy the shade”. He had a great respect for nature, the earth and what it provided the GUEST of the planet. But when I first heard him say that quote (not sure if it was originally his) he was speaking of human rights and humanitarian issues in the deep south of the U.S. He believed our actions in the present would make the world a better place for the opressed in the future. If he were alive today I am sure he would also equate those words to the survival of the human race and our planet. It is my belief that we have two choices: !) We can save the planet or 2) The Earth will save itself, as it has in the past and start from scratch again. What makes me lie awake at night is that few people (and I believe that # is shrinking) in the world see ourselves as guests and stewards of this world. We take for granted what we have although we have wonderful conservationists, donors, scientist in the field, and industry working for solutions. I have 12 nieces and nephews and I worry aout their future and the future of the next generations in general. Famine and sustainable water (for consumption and agriculture) in the future scare me the most. Limited resources seems to mean soemthing to only a few, but the awareness is growing. If humans with short term personal political or money making objectives would get out of the way (and think about the future, not wealth we cannot take with us–a baby is born with clentched fists holding on to life, a person dies with his hands open b/c nothing goes with us after death) then we might have a chance to save humanity. And isn’t that what this is all about? I lie awake at night b/c it frightens me that so many DO NOT think of this as a HUMANITARIAN issue. Humanity might not make it, the Earth will survive and regrow without us. It has done so, without us, the majority of its existence.

  14. What keeps me up at night is the needless slaughter of animals/mammals for vanity’s sake. We are far from being the caretakers of the planet that many believe to be our role. If anything, we are the exactly the opposite…a virus with no bounds.

  15. Water. How are we all going to have enough to drink when we grow to 9 billion people by 2050? When I’m not paying attention and I blast the tap at full strength to wash dishes, I come to and panic at the thought of how many people around the world have to walk miles to get what I just threw down the drain. And when I let the kids bath water rise a bit higher because I don’t want them to be cold, I feel guilty. Or when my husband travels overseas and gets violently ill because he opened his mouth during a shower, I realize how important it is that we stop wasting so much.

    (Or maybe I just have dry mouth at 3 in the morning.)

  16. Highly radioactive waste that is in our air, water, land being produced by aging nuclear power plants in the USA & around the world. Left on site for generations to come putting children’s health at high risk.

  17. OVERPOPULATION. I think the Earth’s carrying capacity of people has been met. In fact, its exceeded. I agree with the poster who said that this is the white elephant issue in every environmental problem we face. There are just too many people consuming too many resources. We need to either drastically cut back on the resources we consume or confront the overpopulation issue. Quite frankly, its probably going to have to be both since its really India & China that have the fastest growing populations right now. And since they are still developing, all of those people are trying to get their piece of the pie. In the West, we aren’t growing as quickly, but we have set a dangerous precedent of consumption. If we don’t drastically cut back our consumption, who are we to tell India & China that they need to consume less/have less people?

  18. what worries me is the anger and personal invective that persons of good intentions level at whomever they find disagreeing with them. the problem of conservation of a “natural” world is one that needs fewer combatants and more collaborators; why aren’t people seeking to persuade more people more patiently? NONE of these issues will be solved “over the dead bodies” of the opponents – they simply won’t die.

  19. Many, many issues drive me crazy but, like Sara, urban sprawl and development seems to get to me the most lately. Where I live (like I’m sure many others can say, too), there are countless shopping centers and office buildings just empty and vacant, while brand new gigantic stores and shopping centers are STILL being built: destroying fields, forests, perfectly good land. One new shopping center developer’s comment was “But it’s just a field?” Yes… is it so horrible to allow “just a field” to exist next to a highway without demolishing it in the name of greed???

  20. Keeping me up at night? The lack of environmental education in schools and the absence of education reform measures that address this dearth. Even more so, however, is the fact that climate change rarely blips on the national radar when our leaders debate school improvement.

    On the Edutopia website, we have a Green Schools Group ( discussing issues in teaching green, and it seems clear that despite a number of worthwhile efforts, it is still very much a grassroots effort in our nations classrooms. If we want sustainability to become the norm, education is one of the places where the seeds must be planted.

  21. I worry that it’s already too late, and that no matter what we do at this point, the planet will still go into a climate-induced tailspin.

    And Anna I worry about the coming population explosion as well. Where are we going to find the resources to provide food and water to 3 billion more people?

  22. I worry about overpopulation and over consumption. We all take what we have for granted (including me!). I once took a survey that told me that if everyone on Earth lived the lifestyle that I do, we would need the resources of 8.5 planet Earths to sustain them.

    I also worry about the loss of species. I want my future children and grandchildren to be able to enjoy the same beautiful world that I have enjoyed–and not just in zoos or pictures.

  23. Everything posted here is SO important, and that’s an understatement, but what I HATE the most is what I see with my own two eyes each and every day, and that’s litter. Trash blowing across yards, roads, parks, and playgrounds. It’s ugly, irresponsible, and unnesessary.

  24. How the earth is going to sustain its beauty and splendor as our culutural continues to slowly dwindle down its resources particulary energy, and loss of water.
    Although education and awareness are one the first steps to assist in preserving the earth, there still seems to be an overall lack of action to truly promote and adopt sustainable practices.

  25. The lack of information bothers me the most. No news coverage on issues affecting the environment, war seems to be forgotten, but we have to worry about which star is doing what with whom. Why are environmental issues not covered?

  26. RADIATION from weapons, etc., population, health of land and oceans, APATHY, STUPIDITY, and greedy AS%&$*s.

  27. I get tummy aches and have sleepless nights thinking about materialism and consumption in society. Many are hypnotized into thinking they need a new phone, a 2000 square foot house, more than 1 vehicle per person and enough clothes for all the people in Rhode Island…. only to throw all the stuff out in a few years to back in style.

    Oh wait, but all that is supose to be good for the economy.

  28. The uber-hypocrisy of our so-called “leaders” like Al Gore who live extravagant lifestyles, consuming everything in sight in the name of saving the planet. And then they claim to buy their way to redemption with carbon credits acquired with the rewards of fame and prophesy. We will all need to live with less so why can’t they be role models for a simple lifestyle?

  29. What keeps me up at night is actually 2 things, but connected. When are enough of the people and governments on the planet going to realize and act on the fact that we have to live our lives in such a way as to preserve the web of life the best that we can — or are we going to keep negatively impacting our own habitat to the point where it is not habitable by humans? Part of this — and a big part of this for me — is I worry about how much of the forest that originally covered the planet has been cut down and is still being cut down; we need to preserve existing forests and plant trees that grow qucikly and strongly enough to grow canopies/root structures in 15 to 25 years that keep the land cooler and moister.

  30. Over population of people and our overuse of resources.
    Too many catalogs in the mail, besides junk mail. Total waste of trees….that go from the mailbox to the recycle bin. I call individual catalogs to get removed from their lists to keep them at a minimum.
    That’s one of my pet peeves.
    Other concerns: too much jet fuel in the air. nitrogen fertilizers polluting rivers and creating dead zones in the ocean. Loss of native grass and prairie lands for migrating birds. plastic trash in the ocean killing marine mammals and birds.

  31. Nativist restorationism resulting in destroyed habitats, felled (non-native!) trees, and toxic herbicide use.

  32. What will it take to make people realise that they have to change? So many people realise the crisis that the world is curently in but very few are will to even make the smallest of changes!

  33. Keeping me up at night? That people still litter. I know it’s a small thing to say, but I think it speaks volumes of why we’re in the situation we’re in.

  34. The thing I don’t get are that most “environmentalists” and “conservationists” still eat meat. You cannot eat meat and be green. It’s a huge waste of resources, land, fresh water, habitat, and food. The EPA estimates about 28% of our greenhouse gasses are from LIVESTOCK!!! Stop calling yourselves green and buying “green” products while you chomp down on that burger or chicken dish. Farming pollution is the #1 by far damaging force to the Chesapeake Bay. Fish kills, closed beaches, and tainted wells are clearly linked to farm run off. We’ve overfished to the point entire populations of fish are collapsing. “Organic” meat is still not sustainable. Why won’t people like Al Gore talk about this? Why won’t the Nature Conservancy start a veg educational campaign? Is the taste of that cheeseburger really worth the removal of rain forest for cheap grazing land & cheap cattle soybeans?

  35. The plight of the oysters in the Chesapeake Bay keeps me up at night! Their reefs are at less than 1% of their historic levels.

  36. My biggest overall worry is climate change, and the fact that people just don’t or won’t BELIEVE. Until people really get it, it seems that they won’t be motivated to change their ways or give up any of their excesses. There are still people who are saying the whole issue is just something made up by Gore, et al, for God’s sake! How do we snap people out of it? I worry that it will be too late, by the time people actually believe it’s real. The solutions are out there now, but we don’t have that much time. And that’s what keeps me up at night.

  37. The loss of ocean life. Exploring the underwater realm that just makes life right. I don’t want to lose all the beautiful things under the sea.

  38. Endangered species. The thought of a world without tigers, polar bears, gorillas or, heck, beetles, absolutely breaks my heart. I don’t want to have to tell stories about animals the next generation will never see.

  39. I’m currently up in arms about factory farming. Not simply for the systematized cruelty to animals, but because of the health and environmental hazards it creates. EATING ANIMALS by Jonathan Safran Foer is a book that got me on the topic. Factory farms account for the creation of new viruses, the widespread destruction of animal habitats, the pollution of waterways and 18% of greenhouse gases.
    Stop buying factory farmed meat!!

  40. Ocean pollution, no contest. We live on a boat and I am terrified of the scheit we DON’T see being dumped in the ocean. I worry about the vile greed of toxic industries that dump things into the deep ocean that should never have been created, and whether the ocean will ever be able to recover. That’s my “Stay Awake at Night” fear.

  41. Robert Lalasz in his comment said, “We still haven’t found the key — the phrase, the talking points, the song, the movie — that’s going to tug at people’s heartstrings and create an mass U.S. movement back towards environmentalism?”

    My response is, Americans respond to facts, data, proof not “pulling on heartstrings.” Many environmental issues are just not supported by the facts. They are emotional ploys to get funding and/or donations. I am a rabid conservationist, but in no way an environmentalist, and fully support the Nature Conservancy in its efforts to purchase property to conserve it. However, when the Nature Conservancy resorts to emotional issues such as human caused global warming, which is based on bad data at worst or incomplete data at best, we part ways.

    Don’t let these contrived issues keep you awake at night. Live life, enjoy life, conserve where you can, be a positive example in the community, but don’t react emotionally to issues, seek out the truth and act on that.

  42. Nuclear waste contamination & clean water. It’s all tied in with loss of species diversity & global warming, too.

  43. Mine is simple, packaging. Why oh why is there so much packaging for everything! Even packaging INSIDE of the packaging!

  44. I want to find a pratical solution for environmental issues. It is such a dilema between making a living and protecting the environment. E.g., a family in a poor developing country cann’t afford food or medication for their children if they stop lodging. They can’t think for the long future if they don’t know if they have food for tomorrow. It’s like a catch 22, whether to die sooner or later.
    From a developed nations’ perspective, perhaps it’s materialism. People want so many things and find ways to get them despite what they might lose.

  45. There are no environmental issues that keep me awake at night. As an objective naturalist who thinks everything is as it was always going to be I don’t believe anything is wrong. Yes, we are changing the conditions of life, but no, changes in the conditions of life are not, in any way, unusual. Even those that threaten many species (including ours) with extinction. Conservation is a pseudo-religious emotional philosophy, not an objective impartial biospherical necessity.

    On the Destiny of Species will be published on the 24/11/1859 + 150 years.

  46. I worry that conservation/environmentalism has become so damn partisan in this country. How did we get this deeply divided about resources we all share and upon which we all depend?

  47. That clam-fishers and conservationalists cannot unite in their mutual interest: the clam. It’s a filterfeeder and does to water exactly what we would like: filter ooze and sequster nutrients. Building marine clam-farms would seem to meet the desire for both (producing) clean water and clams for the consumer. Erika, go get ’em! .. I’m poking in from EU, listened on ‘NPR on science podcast’ a breaf status on Chesapeak bay, and desided to have my debut with ‘Blogging’ here. The situation in Chesapeak Bay is a common problem ‘everywhere’.

  48. global warming. it’s so hot here in Indonesia

  49. Drought and water shortages. We can survive without electricity but when there is low water pressure or no water, sewage becomes a problem (can’t flush toilets), no showers, plants wilt and die, fish and animals suffer and die.

  50. The thought that the world and our society is based on a senseless system of turning raw materials and natural resources into junks and toxic chemicals for short-term gratifications and materialistic satisfactions, and this system is driving ecosystem degradation, biodiversity loss- taking away the homes of indigenous people, plants and animals… and the thought that I am part of this system and eventhough I tried my best to adopt sustainable living tips, I know that such efforts cannot change the much larger global market forces and trends…
    such thoughts drive me nuts and keeps me up at night…

    The other day I watched a online short film on Orang Rimba, which still makes me want to cry with the thought of it now… I feel their pains and helplessness. Such emotions and images of rich biodiverse tropical rainforest turning into oil palm monoculture keep me up at night… (I feel the intensity of these emotions is no less than what I feel for 911)

  51. I worry about whether societies will ever realize that pursuing economic growth at all costs is destroying us. All the government backlash opposing climate change action is due to the financial reprecussions. Why does money matter so much? Is it worth destroying the world that sustains us? If people and governments would realize that we could use so much less and still have enough to be happy, successful, and raise families we would allow the changes that would help us be stewards of the Earth rather than just users.

  52. What worries me most is Over-Consumption. That is essentially what is causing most if not all of the problems listed above. The fact of the matter is we simply cannot carry on consuming the worlds resources at our current rate for much longer. We can’t continue to leave the fate of the planet in the hands of businesses who in reality care of nothing more than increasing profits.

  53. The elitism/classism in the environmental movement. Those of us on this planet that are most affected by environmental problems are the poor – and they rarely have a voice at the conservation table.

  54. conservation of all natural resources is of no importance to african goverments most especially Nigerian goverment who always pays lipe service to the protection and conservation of our flora and fauna. more conservation education needs to be carried out to rural communities especially those within the buffer zone. we all have great roles toplay in protecting our enviroment

  55. Your commercial keeps me up at night. The thought of you thinking you matter makes me cringe. Nature takes care of itself and humanity will disappear with or without your help.

  56. What keeps me up at night is the rapid loss of habitat for creatures along river systems. In the U.S. people build houses and other developments where eagles roost and nest and other endangered species live. Coal mines are another worry that keeps me up. We need to stop mining coal, which destroys habitat and pollutes our environment.

  57. What keeps me up at night is the possibility that my children and my children’s children will not be able to enjoy the same positive experiences in nature that I have had because we Westerners have chosen to take it all for granted. The idea that coral reefs may disappear within the next two decades or so makes me incredibly sad, but what scares me is that 1) not enough people seem to understand that their actions have global implications that caused that to happen and 2) that we have no idea what such catastrophic events (e.g. mass coral bleaching/die-off) will have on humanity. Will wars start because of coral bleaching? Unlikely. But people will fight over scarce resources, and if food, water and a steady source of income are suddenly deleted from the equation, we have a very long journey ahead of us.

    I’m trying to be optimistic, but it’s hard.

  58. Habitat loss. Plain and simple the biggest issue facing wildlife. Humans, when it comes down to the wire, will always act in their own self-interest, no matter how many facts may be present showing the fallacy of that choice.

  59. attempt at going green.

  60. the other day I went and searched for a greener car

    mazda tribute vs chevy equinox. both are 27mpg suvs/crossovers both have hybrid options, and both are middle class friendly priced @ only 30,000.00 and both are only offered in california.

    my fear is that as soon as a new president takes office that the auto industry will drop its bid to make greener cars, the are showing us that by only offering greener cars in 1 state that it would show sales to be negligible kin of like what happened to fords tev in the 90s… new president….new agenda and away went the electric car.

  61. What keeps me up is that most of these issues are related to unlimited population growth. The most effective way to deal with this in a democracy is education of girls coupled with free access to health and birth control services.

  62. Population. When you think about it, nothing else matters, no other issues are relevant or reparable. Population increases exponentially. It is the holocaust inexorably overtaking the natural world, the great vortex sucking up all finite resources, the vast excretorium always looking for an outlet, and it ensures that the number of people will always increase faster than we can feed them. Want to see the future? Go to Mexico City or Mumbai and despair. You are absolutely not going to stop people from having babies.

  63. Lack of commitment of federal, state, local govts. to use of alternative energy sources–esp. solar & wind power. Natural gas for gas-burning public transportation. Lack of water recycling (grey water). I feel strongly that the voting public will support govt. action to use solar & wind energy. I think that in order to make use of these resources our federal govt. (it’s not really that any more, is it?) will have to provide R & D money along with tax breaks for citizens who use alternative energy sources (solar heat, esp.). Why don’t we demand federal financial support that equals the cost of a B-2 bomber and an idiot’s war?

  64. A value-system in which it is inevitable that 2 billion people in China and India will aspire to an American lifestyle.

  65. the likelihood that millions of acres of nature reserves will be rezoned in order to make room for corporations that don’t believe in sustainability or the issues faced by the ecosystems that once called those areas home. population of course, and the government’s reluctance to advocate the green movement.

  66. I just read The Nation’s article called “The Wrong Kind of Green” where many Environmental Groups, especially TNC was slammed for co-opting to Polluters for CA$H. This really bothers me, what do you think?

    1. Dan,
      Thanks so much for your question. We’ve read The Nation’s piece and do have some thoughts on it.

      First off, the vast majority — some 90 percent — of the Conservancy’s funding comes from the individual donations of our 1 million-plus members, not from corporations.

      Second, we believe that environmental sustainability requires finding ways to meet society’s growing economic demands while ensuring nature remains healthy and strong enough to provide the food, water, shelter and income we all rely upon for survival.

      It’s our stance that it would be wrong not to work with these companies – which through their daily actions and decisions have a major impact on our natural world — in an effort to find strategies that benefit both people and nature.

      We also want to correct some inaccuracies contained in the article:

      1. Despite The Nation’s claims we in fact do support policies to combat climate change and that will keep temperatures increases below the 2 degree C “tipping point.”
      2. The Nation insinuates that we seek to profit from our forest carbon work. This is demonstrably false: We have never received any forest carbon credits or “offsets” that can be traded on the carbon market from our REDD programs around the world.

        In our Noel Kempff REDD project in Bolivia, the Conservancy spent $2.6 million helping develop and implement the project, but received absolutely no carbon rights.

      I would also add that we sent this information to the Nation’s reporter when he first contacted us in January. We find it unfortunate that the Nation chose not to publish any of our responses to their questions.

  67. the fact that there are so many sheep in the country believing this doomsday crap Car and Driver recently showed how most hybrids cause more of an environmentally unfriendly impact than SUVs what with strip mining for the nickel in the rechargable batteries, shipping the material off to be made into batteries, etc etc

  68. Thinking about how I can learn to write better so that when I want to tell the world that we are all connected in a web of life everyone will listen. From trash gyres in the oceans, lack of understanding about the importance of wilderness–some days I can only cry about it. Other days or nights I write until my eyes blur. I’m fond of harassing my Senators, the BLM, cruise ship lines, city commissioners –

  69. It is difficult to synthesize years of thought and anxiety about the path we are going along, but one thought keeps running in my mind.
    Of course losing tigers and polar bears is sad, but for me, this is but one parallel of what we have lost in North America over the years, the roaming buffalo, plentiful wolves, dodo birds etc. What bothers me the most is how easy it is for box stores to gobble up land, replacing critically endangered prairie with cement, non-native water intensive grass and florescent lights. That children won’t have places to roam unhindered by video cameras, cars and consumerism – places to cultivate their creativity. Kid’s limited exposure to the wonder of the wild and their excessive exposure to consumption deplete from any understanding of the processes forming their way of life creates such depravity. I sincerely hope America experiences a paradigm shift and we begin to value native ecosystems and restore what is left before the last seed is lost. Once diversity is gone what are we left to defend?

  70. Blaming business & industry for environmental degradation demonstrates a shallow understanding of humanity. It takes a deeper investigation to the motives of business to get at the root issue, regardless of how primitive or contemporary:

    Any business or industry is made up of individuals (CEOs, boards, investors, mgmt, line-employees, those in associated regulatory bodies) that make possible the production of any good or service for domestic & world markets. It is natural for each of these groups to desire profit for the same reasons as it is for any individual the world over who want a raise, better benefits over time for the same (even less) units of work on his own part.

    Therefore, we as individuals are precisely whom breathe life into the profit motive for business & industry, cause it to undeniably yearn for more. We cannot look beyond that disheveled reflection in our own morning mirror to find someone else to lay blame or greater responsibility on. We can only work to improve our self. When we do improve our self, then we can know it is possible for others to do the same.

    We must ask, then answer the question: How can I live as a good steward over myself, that I may create a minimal impact on the natural environments of which I operate in and am a natural part of, and still achieve the dreams I have for my family, for myself?

  71. A previous poster said, “I worry about overpopulation and over consumption… I want my future children and grandchildren to be able to enjoy the same beautiful world that I have enjoyed–and not just in zoos or pictures.”

    Everyone seems to agree that overpopulation is an enormous problem. Someone else’s enormous problem… “all those people in China, India, Mexico City, etc.” This kind of thinking makes me very sad.

    Plastic and overpopulation are what keep me awake, and I feel helpless to do much about either issue.

  72. I’ve lost faith that things can be changed through education. I see the wastefulness of my neighbors, witness endless consumerism, hear conservative politicians negate climate change…
    It’s May 1st in my area and I’ve yet to see a hummingbird. They are generally here before this date. Since reading Silent Spring in my senior year of HS (1968), I have dreaded the spring that is void of birdsong.

    Can anymore pain and destruction come to Louisiana?

  73. I’m just sick, sick, SICK, of the lies we are constantly being told by the oil company’s about all they are doing to protect the environment… They are human, like everyone else, mistakes will and are going to happen, I don’t know the answer but it must stop, stop STOP!!! Hey Oil Company Exec’s, pretend your backyard is the Earth?? how much shit and pollution is acceptable for your home..

  74. What keeps me up at night is the concern that I have for our children and their future and the fact that education ignores the realities of unsustainable living. At what point do our education policy-makers start listening to researchers that provide the evidence that people will never really care (or believe) that western society’s lifestyle is a problem for the future if we ignore it in the curriculum? School is a place where those values and knowledge can be nurtured, especially if children are not hearing it at home. What we don’t teach in school is just as important as what we do teach as the hidden message speaks volumes. High-stakes testing and an obsession with accountability merely reinforces the very beast that is perpetuating the problem, namely economic growth and resource exploitation. I realize that is what capitalism requires, but it’s got to stop. A holistic approach to learning where children are learning in their communities and in nature will not only provide opportunities to develop their intellect, but will also build stronger communities that care about protecting their environment.

  75. The issue that keeps me up at night is a combination of all of the ones mentioned in addition to preserving experiences in Nature. Climate change is a big issue right now, but as learned in a Nature and American Values class, the climate has been changing for years and is going to continue to do so. We as citizens of the country and world need to do more to help slow down the change and educate people on potential problems, invest on adaptive resolutions, possibly empliment cap and trade on businesses to reduce the amounts of greenhouse gases releases into the atmosphere, and cut back on the way we travel and live our daily lives. Species loss is another issue. Many of these species add to the overall life cycle. Once some of these are gone, something else will be needed to take their place and may not be necessarily feasible.

    Young people don’t get out and play anymore. This is about 80% of the younger generation today. Being in my early 20’s, I see this in the generation below me. Majority of the younger generation stay inside to play video games or watch television. The girls will at least go outside in the summer in the heat of the day so that they can get a tan, but this is mainly to keep up their images.

    The old-fashioned way of experiencing nature is becoming a thing of the past. Growing up I experienced nature the old-fashioned way…. Going camping, sleeping in tents, fishing for that days dinner, using a Johnny-house, walking to the creek and catching craw-dads, walking through the woods to find a sturdy grapevine to swing from, sitting in a chair on the porch identifying birds with my grandmother, etc. My parents and grandparents instilled in me the old way of doing things and we continue to practice most of them today.

    I believe that the amount of time one spends outside, the more they get involved and enjoy being out there. I also believe that parents have a huge influence on whether or not their children spend time outside. If they themselves stay inside all the time, their children follow their lead especially when really young, like around age 5.

    Lastly, all the ones I have stressed above are important issues. The younger generations staying inside is more important to me because I am closer to that generation and have lots of relatives that are that generation. However, the most important issue to me is protecting experiences in nature. As I previosuly mentioned, as a child, I enjoyed going to a few well know places and to the local lakes and camping, fishing, and swimming. We didn’t necessarily visit all the national parks, but now that I’m old enough and have the means to do so, I want to be able to visit them. I want my little sister, my children and grandchildren to visit them and so forth.

    As stated by my group in a group assignment in Nature and American Values class, “Exceptional experiences take time to create, they are not merely things we do or things we see but they are those experiences that take our breath away or change our way of thinking. When you see something so beautiful and stunning in nature you cannot help but feel connected to it, to feel its heartbeat. As humans we can only be outsiders looking on.” I would like for everyone to feel this way, especially when they are out in nature.

    In the book Infinite Nature, author R. Bruce Hull states, Restoration begins with clearing the head of details from workday life, creating a cognitive and physical distance from civilization that allows us to fill our minds with thoughts that matter to us, not others. Restoration allows us to calm down from a stressful day, breathe fresh air, and enjoy our surroundings. In a sense nature restores us. Without protecting these experiences in nature, I feel that restoration and children spending more time outside, is just not going to happen.

  76. Population: it just keeps GROWING!!! Religion’s opposition to birth control and abortion. The egocentric urge to preserve a family name/bloodline. People still having large families. People refusing to consider that there are TOO MANY OF US. Humankind’s ceaseless exploration for new resources, instead of striving for sustainability. Unwanted, abused, and neglected children.

  77. What keeps me up at night is the sad knowledge that our children and grandchildren may not be able to experience the same beautiful landscapes and species that I have experienced.

    It’s also what fuels me during the day to promote the importance of land conservation and stewardship!

  78. It’s the exact same things that keeps Jim P. up at night!
    We are to many and do almost nothing to save the planet and our lives! It’s so difficult to reach people on this issue – i mean, they all agree that we must do something urgently but do nothing!

  79. Recently, I am obsessed with the Gulf Spill/Flow at Deepwater Horizon Rig in the Gulf of Mexico. The neglect from our companies and government [].

    I think of all the species that will be impacted, if not destroyed. As human animals, we continue, decade after decade, to exploit and pollute our environment, including our own drinking water. Now we are poisoning the oceans … where were the fail-safes? The checks? The back-up plans? The emergency response plans? Eleven people died the day the rig exploded. Millions of gallons of oil have now polluted the Gulf, but somehow fast food and bulk sales at ugly box stores do more to grab our attention. Status quo. Try to educate someone, especially our children, the responsibility to be stewards to the Earth — for now, for future generations.

  80. I’m 21 and I have the dream to protect the world and the environment, and no one in my generation really gets it and thinks its a “laughing matter”. I’ve written numerous papers on how to make sport stadiums more eco-friendly and other topics and I was laughed at by my peers.
    I beleive that everyone is given the oppurtunity to grow and be educated on any thing they desire, but at the same time it isn’t there. Many schools, early education to college, don’t offer environmental classes that teach the issues, ways to address them, and how making a small change can affect our future. This is very devistating because people my age, our future, simply don’t care and aren’t educated on what the issues really are. I beleive this is why the people my age who really care simply don’t say anything because of the judgment and taunting by others.

  81. I am stupified by the people who want change but don’t wish to change anything because it would be an inconvienience to them. Presently though, I am heartsick about the oil spill crisis…

  82. I’m afraid the gulf oil spill will precipitate several extinction events.

  83. Overpopulation!
    The vast majority of environmental groups ignore the population explosion. It’s senseless to talk about recycling, going vegan, saving water, etc. while ignoring the root cause of all the shortages and environmental destruction. If the population were stabalized and gradually reduced with a 1 child per family mandatory edict worldwide then all the environmental problems would be greatly diminished and could be much more easily dealt with. Until we get a grip on the population bomb all our efforts at “saving the earth” are doomed to failure. Eating meat is not the problem! Growing numbers of people is the problem!

  84. P.S.
    I’m sad to say The Nature Conservancy is among the environmental groups that ignore the effects of population growth on the environment. Other than that I’m proud to be a member!

  85. This is helpful to me. I sometimes think I’m the only one kept awake at night by these issues.

    I don’t live near the Gulf but I’ve paddled in the marshes and mangroves and seen all the life (large and small!) that lives in those places. No one is talking about the spill where I live, and I’m trying to bring it up whenever I can. I’m posting links on Facebook, making appeals to friends to send money to organizations like TNC…not sure what else to do right now, besides continue to try to consume less.

    Last week I had a nightmare that I was viewing the Gulf of Mexico from the air and it had turned black with oil. Lately, the spill and it’s impact is all I can think about.

  86. What really concerns me is so many people’s disregard to the environment. I see forests disspearing and communities and major cities turning into heat islands because people do not want to protect or plant more trees. Trees are essential to all eco-systems. Without them the entire planet can turn into a permanent desert, and life as we know it could dissapear forever. I guess it takes a disaster for people to react. Now with the BP oil spill, everyone is terrified that it will destroy the environment. I wished people were more pro-active and less reactive to environmental threats. If they were, we would have the oil spill problem that we are now facing.

  87. The main issue that I am most concerned with would be the apparent self-destruction through the dissemination of our environment the human race is willing to allow.
    I know there is no easy answer to the energy issue, but perhaps if viewed in a slightly different way we would be able to control an ever increasing spiral towards destruction. Let us look at our ability to produce power on an individual level. If there was a consorted effort to convert septic tanks (human waste) decaying vegetation and animal waste into a usable gas, such as they do in the poverty areas in Asia and India, combine that combustible gas with the sterling engine design to generate power and feed the grid, would that not, at the very least, help. Ok, let’s look at how this gas is created, a temperature of +70 degrees must be maintained to allow the bacteria to survive and turn waste and/or decaying vegetation into a combustible gas. The combustible gas could be directed to the engine as mentioned. Now, what is a sterling engine? An engine designed back in the early 1800’s to run on a temperature deference of 11+ degrees. The more extreme difference in the temperature, the more efficient the output. Ok, that is not all, if we were able to combine that design with existing solar and wind power generation; I believe that each home would make a serious contribution to the energy demand placed on the grid. Would that not be a more environmentally sound answer rather that building more nuclear power plants and producing more nuclear waste?
    I do not believe that energy storage is an answer right now due to the dangerous, harsh and damaging components which are required for that process. I also realize the efficiency would be far from perfect, but when you get a little from something that was not there before that does not harm the environment, that is a step in the right direction in my view.

  88. Climate change…a really big subject, but what concerns me the most at present is the use of chemicals to manipulate the weather. Instead of really cracking down on the large manufacturing companies, governments throughout the world are using aluminum oxide and barium, which you see drifting down from the skies in the form of chemtrails. It has been proven through analysis of rainwater that the amounts of these chemicals far surpass the ‘allowable’ limits. These chemicals not only affect plant and animal life…they affect human life as well in the form of lower immune systems, chronic disease, etc. It’s as if the ‘cure’ is worse than the original causes of global warming! Has the Nature Conservancy looked into this at all??? Chemtrails are seen in the skies throughout the whole world. Here in the U.S. I have not heard of any legislation approving this. Sure would welcome any comments from a representative of the Nature Conservancy on this subject. Thank you!

  89. Wetlands Restoration Question: Would someone explain to me why Cypress trees, which grow in Ohio (Dawes Arboretum) and Florida are not used more extensively in wetland restoration in areas like Virginia?

  90. Garbage disposal, i mean, some countries in the world are making huge advances in this category, but for mine (Mexico) all i can say is this is dead last in our priorities, even the wealthy parts of the city have a big disposal problem… wall-e really got me scared…

  91. ..:: Increased CO2 is causing Ocean Acidification and reduced O2 levels… while increased industrial PCB levels are causing a global diminish in immune system responses… add a virus to some warm water and you get a massive die off… like we have been seeing worldwide from the coral reefs all the way up to the dolphins and whales… PCBs have bio-magnified to toxic levels in humans and with a suppressed immune system… more infections and cancers… please see:

    Chinese Proverb :: “If you don’t change direction, you may end up where you’re heading”…

    and in our case… it’s called extinction…

    please see: ..::”Will human CO2 emissions cause another mass extinction event?…

    ..:: -Since the early 1980s, the production of phytoplankton, a crucial creature at the lower end of the food chain, has declined 6 percent, with 70 percent of the decline found in the northern parts of the oceans. Scientists also have found that phytoplankton are becoming smaller.

    Volcanic activity and large meteorite strikes in the past have resulted in hostile conditions that have increased extinction rates and driven ecosystem collapse,” the report says. “There is now overwhelming evidence human activities are driving rapid changes on a scale similar to these past events.

    “Many of these changes are already occurring within the world’s oceans with serious consequences likely over the coming years.”

    ..:: Abstract :: The five mass extinction events that the earth has so far experienced have impacted coral reefs as much or more than any other major ecosystem. Each has left the Earth without living reefs for at least four Million years, intervals so great that they are commonly referred to as ‘reef gaps’ ::

    please see:

  92. Poverty. With poverty, it’s hard to maintain civilization. Without civilization, people will not choose to protect the environment for its own sake.

  93. What bothers me the most it Over Population of the world. Our planet cannot and will not be able to keep up with the demands that over population burdens it with. I learned many years ago to keep population from growing but sustained is to have no more than two children. The result if everyone did this would be 0 population growth. Mother Earth could support human life on a more sustainable level if only everyone had followed this theory from many years ago.
    I find it very disturbing to see the blantant waste and lack of responsibility by many who only think of themselves in the moment, a trend that leads to destruction of the planet. We are only hurting ourselves, our future, and all generations to come. We have been on that path for many years and still there is just not enough participation by the majority to change the direction us humans have been taking.
    We all have a responsibility in the way we live our lives and how it impacts the planet. It is very sad to know that other cultures and countries are following the path the USA has been on which will only result in faster deterioration of our planet and futures for humans as well as plants and animals.
    I also find it very alarming and disheartening to know that yet with what is happening around the world that is in our faces, that many still dont believe in what is really happening in harmful ways to our planet.
    I have been to the tundra and seen with my own eyes the thawing out that is happening there. It’s real. It is causing native tribes in Alaska to have to move from where their ancestors lived and where they only know of it as their homeland. Just Google for instance Kivalina, Alaska, look at the maps of the island from different years. The ocean is rising due to the melting of the ice caps. So many people do not believe this is real, it is.
    The slowness of our country changing over to new forms of energy is maddening for me. Solar panels and wind turbines is not a new concept. I dont understand how the past 40yrs could slip through our hands without every home in this country not having solar panels on all rooftops…..why not? Seems to me if our government can spend our tax dollars on unfounded wars, earmarks that make no sense etc….then the least they could do is subsidize everyone with large tax breaks that invests in this form of energy and lets all get off the grid.
    I do my part in recycling, composting, conserving energy and water as consiously as possible at all times. I just don’t see everyone being this way and it is very sad, as it is going to take everyone to do so to make any headway in change to help turn this around.

  94. On a macro level it is all disturbing. On a micro level I am a fly fisherman and am concerned about water quality, habitat conservation and development.

  95. As a resident of Shagg Pond in
    Woodstock,ME, what keeps me up at night is the thought of eleven four hundred foot wind turbines generating 55 dba of noise in excess of DEP standards less than 9/10 of a mile from my summer home in one of the most pristine areas in Maine. Eight miles in on a dirt road with seven loons on the pond. Bald and Speckled Mountain in Maine an LMF designated site less than two miles from the ridgeline that these wind turbines will be constructed on will bear the most significant impact with industrial blight, a 33 foot road with significant clearing, not to mention the 1100 tons of concrete,basting a mountain that supports a large aquifer that provides water for Shagg Pond, the Nezinscot and Androscoggin Rivers. What keeps me up at night the most is the thought that it was the Nature Concervancy that gave this land to Patriot Renewables and allowed this environmental disaster. The further stripping of land and the need to upgrade the grid will require even further destruction of natural habitats for a multitude of animals. If that doesn’t keep you up at night it should. What a travesty, a nature concervancy group that has destroyed a piece of heaven on earth.
    Please list my e-mail and feel free to contact me with your comments.

  96. Hi Tim, this is Misty Edgecomb from The Nature Conservancy in Maine. I want to address some of the issues that you raised regarding the wind energy project proposed in Woodstock. The Conservancy did not give land to the developer for this project. We owned a property adjacent to the site, which is now a green-certified woodlot under private ownership. The land is protected by a conservation easement, and wind turbines are among the developments prohibited by the agreement. However, we did sell an option to the wind developers that would allow them to place a turbine closer to the property line than regulations presently allow. The granting of this option merely allows the developers to change the location of one turbine. All of these proposed turbines would be built on land owned by the developer. There will be no development of wind energy on Conservancy land in Woodstock.

    Since this project is proposed for an area that research suggests is not critical to bird or bat migration, and it has the support of local government, the Conservancy decided to not to stand in its way. These turbines could provide at least 18 megawatts of renewable energy – enough electricity to power 8,700 existing households and help us reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. However, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection has the ultimate authority to approve or deny a permit for this project through an ongoing public process. Nuisance noise issues aren’t an area of expertise for Conservancy staff, but are being addressed in the permitting discussion, and I encourage you to raise your concerns in that forum. If you’d like to speak with one of our staff members, please do email me at and I’ll make the connection.

  97. Almost all of the above.

    Most personal — how to hand off fifty acres of wildland I’ve bought over the years to leave alone or restore, as I get older and less able to be sure I’ll be a good caretaker. I know more and more older people who have little parcels that are “wild enough” to be attractive to kids who can walk or bicycle to them and watched well enough that they don’t get ruined, that are just cranking out wildlife season after season and can go on doing it.

    Misty above mentions “We owned a property adjacent to the site, which is now a green-certified woodlot under private ownership….” — one thing I’d like to see is groups like the Nature Conservancy work out ways to be intermediaries between people who want to hand on little pieces of wild-enough land.

    Yes, I know the NC would like these kinds of property donated, and would put restrictions on them and sell them.

    People with a big income can take a nice tax deduction against that income for contributing wild land to a charity like the NC.

    But what about the people who’ve been protecting little parcels that kids can get to — who don’t want to see them locked up, fenced by a new rich owner, turned into a tree farm, or otherwise processed into the economy?

    Surely there are other people coming along who’d like to do something more generous to the random children around, and keep these little bits of wild-enough land both preserved and accessible to kids.

    That keeps me up at night, right now; not just me but knowing other people over the years who’ve faced this kind of problem and just let the parcels go into their estate, if they didn’t need the money and didn’t have a better idea, or if they needed the money sold them via a realtor who cut the trees and sold it as “ready to build property” — stripped and not wild at all any longer.

    Little wild spots and how to protect them — that’s my sleepless night notion.

    Best idea so far, from a relative who’s a monk — starting a hermitage program for people who want to live in tiny little cabins and study wildlife (sigh).

  98. What really scares me is the fact that, each day, more and more and more of the Amazon forest is cut down for roads, farms, mines etc.. and scientists have confirmed that, if this continues for a certain period of time (not very long im sure), the effects will be irreversible, and we will ultimately suffocate, since the Amazon is the planet’s main source of oxygen

    The Amazon also accounts for something like 1/3 or 1/4 of the planet’s biodiversity, and therefore ALOT of species will become extinct if deforestation continues, so anyway you look at it, Amazon deforestation needs to stop!

  99. exponential world population growth and ensuing struggle to control earth’s resources, i.e., water, food and other necessities.

  100. logging practises done by state of alabama form of rape on the land. mono cropping of pine inceases fire chances in my area. who can I contact?

  101. To Hank Roberts, above – set up a conservation easement on the land, and have a land conservatory look after it when you can’t. Look up “The Conservation Foundation” for info, and help find contacts in your area.

  102. What nature threat keeps me up at night?
    Fortunately I believe in a supreme being that cares about his creation, but there is too much to list here the wrongs that I think men and institutions are and have been doing. The fires in Greece and California are examples of poor land management. I understand the whole insect population issue and there are better ways to manage infestation than burning down the whole house. Not fumigation, although sometimes that is good. But finding the natural predator would be best most times.

  103. One of the greatest things that the US did was to stop the US from Cuba. The place for NOW is like time stopped. How can we keep it that way. The corral is pristine the wetlands have not been touched, but development is just around the corner and NOW is the time to stop it before its too late.

  104. Things that keep me up at night. Tornadoes and bad weather.

  105. what keeps me up is how we treat our fellow man…everything after that is just chemistry…but in the chemistry category what keeps me up is 1. why can’t we stop driving gas guzzling cars/SUVs. 2. why do we need so much packaging and so much direct mail. 3. urban sprawl 4. Magnesium chloride in our waters so we can drive fast on icy roads in our necessary 4-wheel drive cars (learn to drive and save the planet), mini-batteries in everything we own and then throw away, bamboo anything except chop sticks frightens me it is so dirty to make stuff out of bamboo especially flooring (nasty glue holds the little strips of bamboo together), silliness like bamboo being sustainable worries me because we then lose focus on the big stuff like packaging, plastic, SUVs and batteries.

  106. All of it keeps me up at night:
    Climate change
    The polluting and overharvesting of our oceans
    Non native and invasive plant species
    Lack of environmental education in public schools
    Mercury in our water, food, air
    Mylar balloons
    Plastic bags
    Nobody carpools anymore!
    Cruise ships
    Endangered species
    The melting polar icecaps

  107. I agree with Christi and several others that OVERPOPULATION is the basis of our environmental crisis. Our ever-increasing demands on the resources of this beautiful planet will be our demise. I know this is a subject that many do not want to approach but until we do, we will continually strip our planet of its resources. I do not understand why we cannot begin the process to slow down the population growth. To begin with, we could stop handing out welfare checks to people who just have more and more children so that they can get more money from the state. We could stop paying for the educations for those families who choose to have more than two children. We could impose a tax for those people who choose to have large families. To make sure this is fair (so that it is not just the affluent who are the only ones who can afford to have children), we could impose the child tax appropriate to their earnings. Begin to charge people energy and consumption taxes. Just some ideas to get us started.

    I am also concerned about the alarming rate of environmental destruction due to our trade policies. I live close to a major rail system in Minnesota. What I see on a regular basis is the containers coming in are all bringing in products from China and Asia. All of the products going out are our natural resources: grains, lumber, coal, etc. This is stripping our planet at an alarming rate. While we suffer in our economic crisis because of the greed of executives who have made decisions to produce products overseas, the people in China and Asia are experiencing unprecedented wealth. As you know, it is not just the U.S. that is losing in this battle, delicate ecosystems in countries such as South American are being stripped as well.

  108. I have read all the comments above, and it was great to hear that so many others are as concerned about the future of our planet as I am. I hear comments like that so seldom in my community and my social network. And that’s part of what scares me – that so few people seem to understand or care about the situation we are facing and the critical need to change how we relate to our environment, before we destroy so much of it that it’s too late.
    I lie awake at night worrying about global warming, and how huge an effort is needed to change it, and how slow our people and government officials, and the governments of other countries, have been in response to the dramatic changes that are already occuring worldwide. I am afraid that we will end up with too little effort and it will be too late to stop the worst effects of global warming.
    I am also very concerned about all the huge damage we are doing to our forests, our waterways, and our oceans. We are basically destroying our own home, the only planet we have to live on, for now at least. What we are doing to our air, and water and soil is so self destructive, and yet so many people do not pay attention to this or try to change it, and learn better ways of dealing with these problems. People get so set in their ways of thinking and doing things, and how they see the world, and they just don’t want to even consider any other way of thinking or living. They also do not want to believe anything is wrong to begin with, as a few of the writers here express, and want to put their heads in the sand, so to speak, and ignore reality.
    To those who say that we should only use facts to deal with environmental problems, and ignore emotional responses, I say that you have to start with presenting enough facts to convince people there is an important, major problem to begin with, that requires big changes as soon as possible. At that point, people will hopefully feel moved enough, on their own, to be motivated to act and make changes.
    The problem is convincing people that the direction we are headed in is so destructive and that’s already caused major changes and damage, and that they are contributing to it with the way they are living. A lot of people don’t want to see this, and don’t want to change.
    But I am thankful that more and more Americans are learning how to live in environmentally friendly ways. I too believe that education can make a big difference – the education of people of ALL ages.

  109. Water.

  110. On a large scale: all of it, starting with population growth and corporate greed.

    On a smaller scale: THE GAVIOTA COAST. The last undeveloped coastline of Southern California; only 15% of California’s coast, but which contains 50% of California’s remaining rural coastline. An extremely unique and precious environment where Northern species and climate meets Southern. There is no other region like this in the whole of the United States or North America. Also home to bands of Chumash Indians, with cultural significance. Under contant threat of subdivision and development by those who would pave it over and erect McMansions, parking lots and malls. PLEASE, NO!

    One of my life’s greatest ambitions is to see this small stretch of coast preserved from further development in perpetuity.

  111. Getting the top five percent of the richest Americans to care about the environment right NOW because they are the ones that ultimately make the decisions in this world!

  112. Natural gas fracking, Halliburton leasing 80% of Bureau of Land Management’s Land to do so, which leads to a nation’s worth of polluted watersheds.

  113. My greatest concern is that we do not see ourselves as caretakers of our Mother Earth and tend to focus our energies on what we perceive is best for man rather than the environment as an whole. Only when we change that perspective and begin to see ourselves as just one part of the environmental universe rather than the entire universe itself, can we begin to change our behavior in ways that will help us live and work in harmony with nature. Contrary to popular belief, the world is NOT “all about us.”

  114. Dead birds dropping from the sky and dead fish washing ashore inexplicably, Jan 4 2011.

    Man this blog is on fire. Why the lack of participation?

  115. What keeps me up at night is the blatant disregard for the disappearance of wild things. It’s the money hungry vs. the values that are priceless. I see “for sale” signs on every piece of wild land around me. For what? So they can go out of business and leave skeleton buildings and empty parking lots?

  116. And thank you Maire Cinnamon

  117. Overpopulation. We all have a right to be here. But we have to be more intelligent with how many more of us we add. Habitat loss is the biggest threat to living things. At some point we’ll reach carrying capacity and sadly by then we’ll be self-limiting as the resources won’t be able to sustain us all. Try and reach the adults through education and experiential learning, but remember to make it a top priority to help our kids learn the importance of environmental stewardship and remembering we are PART of the environment, we are intrically connected with it.

  118. When will we agree that clean water should not be a luxury item?

  119. we should always campaign the importance of ecology. like we start in Aceh province with ACEH GREEN especially in LEUSER ecosystem. We have main duty to conserve and protect leuser ecosystem.

  120. first human over population then the power and influence of chemical companies & power producers (oil, gas, nuclear)

  121. How anyone will be able to teach and show the masses of the world’s populations that without working together to support the life support system that keeps us alive and without understanding that we are truly all connected in that web of life there will be no world of living beings.

  122. It’s truly hard to pick just 1-2 things to have me concerned for the future of our species. Some of the primary ones are:

    1. Loss of biodiversity
    2. Global population growth
    3. Increasing pressure on all natural resources due to an ever enlarging middle class in developing markets
    4. The loss of all types of deciduous and evergreen ecosystems in the eastern U.S. and the public’s overall lack of knowledge regarding the impact.
    5. Our impact on climate change from lower ocean pH levels to actual warming itself.

  123. Deforestation…. No trees to protect the soil, cool the air, and absorb the carbon dioxide we produce.
    And with deforestation… the loss of unique varieties adapted to that specific location….

  124. A huge problem in our society is water pollution. However, it’s not always Big Industry doing the damage. Although they do their fair share, we, as individuals, contribute considerably to the problem as well. And, I believe, we can each help to solve this problem, one household at a time.

    I recently discovered that, in America, there are approximately 1,000 loads of laundry going every second of every day! Now I’m not sure exactly home many homes we have in this country, but with a population of 330,000,000 +/-, that’s a lot of washing going on every day. And that’s not counting the commercial uses either.

    Now, think about all the detergent that goes into all those loads of laundry. Each load has a “wash” cycle, and a “rise” cycle. And all that water, with detergent residue, goes right down the drain. It will, in most cases, be routed to a water treatment plant, where it gets chemically treated and separated. Then it goes right into our water ways… lakes, rivers, and out-fall lines into the ocean.

    Imagine, if you will, what impact would be made if we were able to eliminate laundry detergent all together, from our personal daily lives. The technology is already available to hotels, hospitals, and other large commercial operations. Now this technology has been scaled down and is available to the individual home owner as well. ‘Laundry Pure’ is a very inexpensive device that solves this problem quickly and easily. It connects to your residential washing machine, and it makes detergent completely obsolete! Colors are brighter, towels are fluffier, no more fading, and no more allergic reactions to all the residual detergent. To top it off (I almost always seem to forget this part), you don’t need any more hot water either!

    I realize that’s a lot of information, in a very short span of copy, so let me try and summarize the potential impact, both Good & Good. Couple all that together and we get:

    Less detergent pollution in our water ways, less plastic detergent containers in our landfills, less oil needed to produce all those plastic containers, less paper detergent containers in our landfills, less paper needed to produce all those paper boxes, less tress get cut down to produce all those paper boxes, less natural gas (or electricity) used to heat the water to do our laundry, and all that adds up to less money out of the pocket of consumers to pay for all that stuff we don’t need anymore.

    Just imagine…

  125. For me it’s the idea that all of our natural conservation areas, such as forests, could be destroyed. It’s hard to imagine having no access to natural lands to enjoy.

    I work for a small non-profit in Philadelphia called the Wissahickon Restoration Volunteers. We work to restore the 2,000 acre forested area of Fairmount Park called the Wissahickon. This year we are having our first ever spring campaign to raise money for planting 1,000 trees! It’s just $10 to sponsor one tree.

    Please visit
    to follow our campaign and keep America investing in conservation!

  126. A bit off topic but the ‘contact us’ link is not working. I have always respected the conservancy but heard something on the news this AM that shocked me. TNC selling land back to NYS??????? And the land likely to be fractionally drilled??????

    What on earth?

  127. Overpopulation. My nightmares involve too many in misery, too many in need, too many in war, too many destroying natural habitats, too many making stuff and buying stuff, too may who will not have-not, too many of us…

    If I were the ruler of this planet (because I sometimes take this position in my dreams being that it is the only place from where I can control my environment –no need for video games– and fight this nightmare), I make it law not to have no more than 2 children per couple (adoption being possible for those whose reproductive systems have already been damaged). We replace ourselves, the population declines, we deal with the economic implications, and we save ourselves from self-destruction.

  128. Three main issues concern me. Overpopulation, failure to properly recognize and account for the value of natural services and resources, and our scary dependence on petroleum. Petroleum, in roughly 100 years, has gone from a novelty product to the foundation of modern life and it will be extremely painful (and most likely violent) when the wells run dry.

  129. What keeps me up all night is the fact that people litter. Sometimes when I have to go somewhere, I see piles of magazines and newspapers scattered everywhere. It angers me because it is a lack of respect for the environment and proves how ignorant some people are.

  130. Lately I’m kept up at night thinking about how ashamed I am of humanity. I grew up so excited to have a family one day, but now (at 26) I feel that not only would it be irresponsible of me but I don’t want to have to teach my children about the unjust treatment of this planet and all the greed that consumes humanity instead. We have evolved these masterful brains and yet use them so foolishly. I wish there was a real alternative to how we live. Or that we could start all over.

  131. Industrial wind projects desecrating the forested hills of Maine and other forests in North America. They are inefficient and they kill birds and bats. It is a shameful scam that is ruining the environment of pristine forests.

  132. The human race has achieved great things. We set ourselves apart with from other living beings by our comparably vast intellect, our ability to form language, math, science, art, etc. However none of that means anything if we destroy this planet. Our entire race is a burden. Overpopulation has been put in the back seat, when people instill the necessity to have unrestricted children and grandchildren. There will come a point when our race will understand how devastating our way of life has been, and I am afraid at that point, it will be too late to recover. What keeps me up at night is the negligence of the human race. Overfishing, deforestation, our addiction to dirty fossil fuels, the list goes on and on. Our intelligence sets us apart from other species, I believe that we were given that upper hand to be designated as stewards of the earth. Protectors of the most amazing collection of life and beauty in the universe. We are doing the worst job of fulfilling this most important task. In the big picture every humanistic conflict, whether it be related to religion, personal relationships, politics or anything we deem important, it doesn’t mean shit, it is nothing if we make the earth a terrible place. Bottom line, if we don’t drastically change our way of life, the sad truth is that humans will destroy our own kind along with every species on this planet.

  133. illegal wildlife trade + consumption. international issue, cultural sensitivities, economics of supply & demand, the role of communication & (oftentimes sadly) politics . ..

  134. That vetiver offers a solution for preserving land, cleaning water and soil and that it isnt utilized by the goverment(DLNR,EPA).

  135. The general poisoning of everything food and farm related. Great American Corporations selling lies and promoting their poisons as able to produce more food. All the while, amphibians, fish, birds and we humans suffer death and illnesses while they profit.., all the while knowing what they do. Even President Obama knows…, and condones it. He and our Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, signed off and went against a federal judges orders, on the planting of untested,genetically modified alfalfa. This and the cross pollination that will result…, keeps me up at night.., regularly! MONSANTO is SATAN! Know that!

  136. Overpopulation!
    Encouraging teens to have and keep babies they cannot support or raise.
    Glamorizing the pregnancies of film stars.
    Young women should be encouraged to contribute their talents, not their reproductive capabilities, to society.

  137. To me, by far the biggest fear is the genetic manipulation of our food supply and the loss of purely organic foods. Genetically modified foods affect the genes of what consume it. And to modify a food so that the seeds are infertile, so you have to buy their new seed each year, just criminal!

  138. The fragmentation and outright destruction of the native American landscape in the name of “growth” and “economic progress.”

  139. Non-indingenous species over taking the planet, i.e., the pythons in the Everglades. Gives me the heebie jeebies.

  140. Ocean pollution… I am looking for some organization active in south america…cant find any.

  141. I can’t honestly say that the Conservancy’s chief scientist, Peter Kareiva, keeps me up at night. But he does worry me because he seems to be the spearhead of a movement to change the whole focus of the Conservancy.
    For example:
    Kareva scorns what he calls “fortress conservation”–i.e. protecting outstanding natural areas through parks or preserves. Isn’t “fortress conservation”–to use the negative term Karieva uses– exactly what the Conservancy has been doing for the last six decades? By my lights the outstanding contribution of the Conservancy has been its sharp focus upon conserving land.
    He says conservantion is approching a crisis of “irrelevance.” Says who, besides Karieva? It is true that the mass media aren’t writing about conservation as much as, say, Sarah Palin, but there are literally millions of conservationists out there, many of them Conservancy members, and they are in virtually every U.S. community and highly motivated.
    Kareiva says that preserving land is ok, but first we must “nourish” people. Aren’t there scores, maybe thousands, of public and private agencies out there already trying to nourish people, everybody from the World Bank and the U.S. Federal goverment to the scores of local food banks and charitable organizations? The Conservancy should leave the admittedly important task of nourishing people to the institutions that already exist for that purpose. Instead, it should continue to focus on the one thing it does better than anyone else: preserving nature.
    I wonder: how much is the Conservancy paying this guy to sit at the heart of the Conservancy and argue that what the Conservancy has done since its founding is somehow irrelevant?

  142. A digital aged, tech savvy, computer guided youth (ages 2-20) which rarely goes outside to play, nor do they seem to have any desire to do so.

  143. When individuals are done eating and they throw their lunch or dinner refuse out the car window I am enraged. Also, after drinking beer in the car individuals just leave the bottles on the public way or lawn they happened to be parked by. Littering is against the law and mother nature.

  144. The talk of issues that weren’t issues at all when I was a kid, ie severe and violent weather changes, the loss of polar bears, rapidly disappearing ice to name a few.

    The general state of global issues in terms of massive unemployment, loss of livelihoods, uncertainess of the future for my own child. When people have these immediate concerns to deal with just to survive on a daily basis, how can they be truly concerned about the environment?

    It’s a vicious circle.

  145. It is man’s foolish thinking that he owns the earth and he will be around forever.

  146. Human beings in general. As a whole, we make me sick. How, as the most “intelligent” beings on Earth, can we do so many terrible things? A lot of mistakes have been made and we’ve learned from some of them but then there are things that we just keep doing wrong. I worry about what the world will be when my grand children are here and, as a natural resources professional, what I will have to tell them to explain it. As of right now, there are only 2 honest explainations I can give: 1) we’re lazy 2) we’re stupid.

  147. will the planet be able to continue feeding billion more people in the future? is conservation only for elites who can afford to think and do something about it because all their basic needs are met? why some people can be so greedy they don’t bother to save something for future generation and instead extract, exploit, expand, consume and consume more from nature? don’t we merely borrow all resources from our children and we have moral obligation to leave the legacy intact for them? that’s all for now. i have more each day..

  148. the fact that all of nature is fragile…that the reason we are trying to ‘conserve’ it is because of this, because human society is inherently dangerous to nature. that unless we have a complete overhaul of our social system (in other words unless people stop being greedy) then the beauties of nature will probably die. and the real scary part is that i don’t have faith in people changing…

    so what can we do as a conservationists? should we just accept the absolute rule of humanity over nature and turn into a fancy landscaping service? or should we try to keep the dream of a natural world alive?

  149. trying to get people to care for the earth, over population, and manny other things

  150. Encroachment on habitat keeps me up. I am a US citizen who has lived in Indonesia for 6 years and now in West Africa for 11 months. As an avid bird watcher and wildlife photographer in my spare time I seek out the various habitats on where birds might be found. I am blessed to be able to visit these prestine wild places, but brought to tears when I see it destroyed. The process is almost always the same, someone with a chainsaw and truck hires a crew and cuts the biggest trees and hauls them to a sawmill, the logging trails open paths for others to encroach and set up residence and cut the smaller trees for pulp or poles, the final blow is when the area starts filling with grass then is burned to clear for planting. The distance I have to travel to get to prestine primary forest gets longer every month. The loss is real and the pace of the destruction is alarming. There are many factors that contribute and takes a broad-based approach and relentless effort to save enough to prevent species extension. Keep up the conservation effort and don’t ever give up!

  151. Population – The most recent U.N. projections of an eighth, ninth, and tenth billion by century’s end promise potentially calamitous humanitarian, civilizational, and biospheric crises – and at some point, we are likely to find that “challenging” has transitioned to calamitous – and the high-fertility projections of 15.8 billion by 2100 are the demographic equivalent of a collision trajectory with a near-earth asteroid.

    The U.N.’s high-fertility projections, for example, (which may well be the numbers that threaten to emerge) show us on-track toward our eighth, ninth, tenth, ELEVENTH, TWELFTH, THIRTEENTH, FOURTEENTH, and 15.8 billion by the close of this century.

    In that case, the 15.8 billion near-earth asteroid analogy becomes operative, for conservation efforts have no chance whatsoever of success in the face of such numbers. If, for example, astronomers were to discover a near-earth asteroid on a collision trajectory with our planet, NASA and international space agencies would IMMEDIATELY initiate efforts to “nudge” the object out of its collisions trajectory, but that “nudging” effort would have to BEGIN when the object is still far enough way for the efforts to have an effect. If we are to avoid the 15.8 billion humanitarian, civilizational, and biospheric outcomes, the emergency demographic efforts that are needed now are NOT articles like the one above, but immediate steps to ensure that voluntary and ethical family planning programs are universally accessible in the world’s poorest and highest-fertility LDCs – for with every hour, day, and week that current high-fertility rates persist have the effect, due to population momentum, of locking the entirety of humankind, civilization, and the biosphere more and more inescapably into the collision trajectory.)

    Speaking as a biologist, earth’s planetary carrying capacity for a modern industrialized humanity with everyone on earth enjoying a U.S. / Western European standard of living is on the order of TWO billion on less and the U.N.’s most recent medium-fertility population projections show humankind to be on-track toward ten billion by the end of this century. We know that humanity was already inflicting damage on earth’s ecosystems, biota, and planetary life support machinery back in 1987 with five billion and 1999 with six billion – when less than half of us were industrialized. Now we are at SEVEN billion and ocean dead zones are spreading, bluefin tuna and shark populations are plunging, deforestation in Sumatra reached rates of 61% over a period of twelve years in the 1980s, and on and on.

    Graphs depicting human population growth over the past 10,000 years are accessible at and readers will notice that they are not JUST J-curves (like those J-curve events the world witnessed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki), but they are extreme and pronounced J-curves. (Population is not just affected by birth rates – think about mortality reductions; biologists have already achieved SIX-FOLD life-extensions in laboratory organisms – that would be a 500-year extension in humans – and even a tiny, tiny fractional such increase in humans would send us careening toward 15.8 billion.

    For a short freely-downloadable downloadable PDF on population and the implications of our sheer physical eradication of natural systems (Conservation – Why 10% goals are not enough”) – readers are invited to visit (What Every Citizen Should Know About Our Planet).

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