Today is Endangered Species Day. Going through the routines of our life, swaddled by technology, it's easy to think of the world as a familiar and well-known place. But it's not. We share this planet with a dazzling array of life, some of which we discover with astonishing regularity. As Virginia Morell recently put it: "What an amazing world we live in, to be surrounded by all these other minds."
But too many plants and animals now hover on the verge of oblivion. They need our help, usually from people themselves. That's why we have laws like the Endangered Species Act. It is the existence of those laws in which lies one of humanity's greatest legacies. And the fact that the Endangered Species Act exists--that people, as Aldo Leopold said, can morn the loss of their pigeons--is one of my greatest sources of hope.