“It’s simultaneously beautiful and grotesque,” says Brendan Cummings, of the Center for Biological Diversity, of the Joshua Tree, the iconic image of the Mojave Desert. “There’s something incredibly Seussian (ph) about it. They transport you to a different world where you can forget all the horrible things going on in the world.”
One of those horrible things, unfortunately, is the the Joshua Tree being threatened by climate change. While endangered species designation for the Joshua Tree won’t halt global warming, it will help in ensuring the trees are protected from being destroyed directly by human impact.
The USFWS denied endangered species protection for the Joshua Tree in 2019, but a judge has recently found that the agency erred in failing to protect it under the Endangered Species Act. So, the USFWS has a chance to rectify their error, and put the Joshua Tree under the strongest possible protection.
This not only protects the tree, but also the economies of the communities that rely on people visiting the Mojave to see the Joshua Tree. A rare win-win for both financial and ecological reasons.
The non-profit WildEarth Guardians is collecting signatures for a petition that will be delivered to the USFWS, urging the agency to grant the Joshua Tree endangered species status.
You can find out more, and sign the petition, right here.
Photo: Cedric Letsch