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Value of wildlife protection could be tested by Georgia plant

Maybe everyone doesn't know what their state flower, bird or tree is. Even for those who are not avid wildlife lovers and enthusiasts, they still live off of the land and enjoy the gifts it provides. They just might not be mindful of that.

So, as a Huffington Post piece asks: "Should you care that an obscure flower that only grows in a very limited area, serves no obvious purpose, and is unlikely to ever be in an arrangement in anyone’s home is facing possible extinction?" The simple but important answer is yes. Georgia residents in particular should care.

The above mentioned obscure flower is Georgia rockress, and it is found here in Georgia as well as in Alabama. Scientists indicate that the plant is growing in such dwindling quantities that the areas in which it is found should be officially classified as critical habitat. That means that environmental regulations would be put in place to protect the environment where the flowers grow so that the growth's rate wouldn't continue to decrease.

While it is true that the extinction of a rare flower like this most likely won't mean life or death for any person, the extinction of any part of an ecosystem should ignite worry within a community and the world as a whole. If one of Georgia's flowers goes extinct, it might be because of contaminated air, water or other pollution in the environment. Pollution threatens the health of wildlife, but it also the lives of men, women and children. The loss of a flower could foreshadow the loss of something greater in the future.

Scientists warn that the extinction rate is at a "historical level." Environmental laws can work to help alleviate the damage being done and that will be done to the earth in the future. For that to happen, however, laws must be enforced and parties held accountable for their careless actions toward the well-being of planet.

Source: The Huffington Post "Scientists Worried About 'Extinction Crisis,' But Should We Protect Each And Every Obscure Species?" Oct. 16, 2013

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