Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Join us in Promoting the Year of the Frog!

Like many six year olds, my son Weston is crazy about frogs (see above).

Unfortunately, their populations across the globe are disappearing at an alarming rate. To call attention to the amphibian extinction crisis during this “leap year”, global conservation organizations have designated 2008 as Year of the Frog.

While the circumstances surrounding it are troubling, 'Year of the Frog' is no doubt the coolest green communication outreach promotion we’ve heard of in some time!

Scientists estimate that from one-third to one-half of the 6,000 amphibian species are in danger of extinction. Frogs live most of their lives in water, making them very sensitive to waterborne chemicals, which are absorbed through their permeable skin. For this reason, they often give the first warning of toxic pollutants in the environment and are important indicators of how our ecosystems are faring.

Some pollutants that have affected amphibians, such as DDT and PCBs, have long been recognized as dangerous. But recently, synthetic hormones or hormone-like substances have started to alarm some scientists and environmentalists. Other reasons frogs are disappearing so rapidly are habitat loss, climate change, and a fungus type disease called chytrid.

So during this Year of the Frog, we should all thank these environmental sentinels for helping us understand what’s going on in the environment around us. You may even want to give one a kiss!