By Dr. Kerry Kriger, Save the Frogs
The first frogs crawled out of the primordial swamps 360 million years ago. The frogs were well adapted to Earth’s environment, and they multiplied. They dispersed onto six continents. They evolved into thousands of species, and there were few places the frogs did not inhabit. The rainforests, the deserts, and the mountaintops, the ponds, streams, swamps and the trees: all these places were homes to the frogs. The frogs enjoyed the Earth’s riches, and the aeons passed. The frogs watched as the first birds took flight, and as the first mammals scurried out of their holes in the ground. The frogs survived the asteroid crashes, the ice ages and the volcanic eruptions. The frogs outlasted the dinosaurs.
The first humans climbed down out of the trees less than one million years ago. They took to the savannahs. They walked, rode and sailed to the distant corners of the planet. They lived in harmony with the frogs, enjoying their calls at night. They thanked the frogs for eating the mosquitoes, ticks and flies that carried the vector-borne illnesses that could kill the human children. They thanked the frogs for keeping the ecosystems intact by serving as food for the fish and the birds, the lizards and the monkeys. They thanked the tadpoles for eating the algae and keeping the waterways clean. The humans gained valuable knowledge from the frogs, and many Nobel Prizes were awarded to scientists whose research depended on frogs.
The frogs also served as bio-indicators, but the 21st century humans did not realize it. The frogs had permeable skin that readily absorbed the pesticides and pollutants emitted from the human factories and machines. These chemicals caused limb deformities and turned male frogs into hermaphrodites; these chemicals weakened the frogs’ immune systems and made the frogs susceptible to infectious diseases. The frogs could not survive the destruction of their forests or the draining of their swamps. The Earth warmed and the persistent droughts dried the ponds and the cloud forests on which the frogs depended. The humans ruined much of the Earth’s arable land, and they could not produce the amount of food required for six billion people, so they ate the frogs, and many species were hunted to extinction. But there were still many cats, dogs, horses and cows, and so the humans thought the Earth, their only home, was healthy.
But the Earth was not healthy. By the end of the first decade of the 21st century, 200 frog species had completely vanished, many from seemingly pristine, protected areas such as national parks and preserves. Another 2,000 frog species were on the verge of extinction, existing precariously as small isolated populations in inhospitable terrain. The continued existence of the frogs was not guaranteed. The fate of the Earth’s remaining frogs depended on the actions of a small band of humans.
This band of humans knew that the extinction of the world’s remaining frog populations would result in irreversible consequences to Earth’s ecosystems and to humans. These humans were not willing to sit idly by and watch the frogs disappear. They would not allow the beautiful Earth to be turned into a wasteland, a home to nothing but the fossils of a distant era. This band of humans realized the time to act was now, today. They educated themselves and they taught their friends, children and leaders how to reduce their impact on the environment. They built biological stations and they conducted scientific research and gave grants to conservationists working to protect the frogs. They defended the frogs’ legal rights when the government failed to do so, and they fought to create necessary laws when none existed. These humans purchased land and created reserves for the frogs. The future of the frogs and the future of the Earth depended on this band of humans.
This band of humans went by the name SAVE THE FROGS!
The environmental revolution had begun.