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Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

FOR THE WEEK OF OCT. 04, 2021

Extinct species: List of vanished U.S. animals and plants gets longer

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Summarize other coverage of nature or the environment.
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Find a photo symbolizing the value of plants and animals. What word comes to mind?
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Share a quote or fact from news about "green" energy or another protect-the-planet effort.

Twenty-two creatures and one Hawaiian forest flower are leaving the federal government's endangered species list, but not for a positive reason. Efforts to preserve them failed and they were declared extinct last week by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a proposal awaiting final review. The ivory-billed woodpecker, a bat from Guam, eight types of freshwater mussels and others join a list of 650 U.S. species that are believed to be lost forever.

Development of natural areas, climate change and over-fishing are among factors blamed. “The specifics for each of the species' demise vary, but the story arc is essentially the same," says Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. "Humans altered their habitat in a significant way, and we couldn't or didn't do enough to change the trajectory before it was too late. … We have got to do better by this planet, and we need to do it now." The U.S. news comes a month after a top international conservation agency warned that 28% of the 138,374 threatened species on its "survival watchlist" have been moved to the more alarming "red list" signifying high risk of extinction. Despite some global improvement, the number of species at high risk continues to grow, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature reported Sept. 4 in its annual Red List update in Marseille, France.

Critics say America's government moves too slowly to protect vulnerable creatures and plants under the 1973 Endangered Species Act. "Sadly, these species were extinct or nearly gone when they were listed," said Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, a national nonprofit group that says several species in the new announcement disappeared during a delay in the listing process. President Joe Biden’s proposed budget asked Congress to allocate more than $60 million in addition money to safeguard endangered species — the largest increase requested for the program in history — but a House committee reduced that amount by $17 million.

Protection group says: "The tragedy will be magnified if we don't keep this from happening again by fully funding species protection and recovery efforts that move quickly. Delay equals death for vulnerable wildlife." –Tierra Curry, senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, a national conservation group

Scientist says: "On a day-by-day basis, it may not seem to us that there is a crisis happening. [But] we are losing species at an alarming rate." – Cam Tsujita, assistant professor of earth science, Western University in London, Ontario (Canada)

Nonprofit leader says: "There is a clear economic, health and climate case for protecting nature. But just as important, there is an overwhelming case for preserving nature for its own sake. It is a source of much that is good about life — beauty, inspiration, innovation and intellectual curiosity." – Hank Paulson, former U.S. treasury secretary and head of the Paulson Institute policy center in Chicago

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2021

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