Most people don’t necessarily hear or possibly care about lizards. All animals are precious and all animals are important to their biotas (the animal and plant life of a particular region, habitat, or geological period). Any animal’s disappearance can dramatically affect their specific ecosystem. Imagine an increasing insect population as lizards and frogs disappear. I suspect that some people my think that lizards are immune to a changing climate, they been around for a very long time.
Well, there is evidence that lizards are being affected by climate change. With the exception of humans, animals cannot put on a jacket or light up the furnace to get warm. And since lizards need to warm themselves to be active, one might think that global warming isn’t going to have an effect on these wonderful creatures. Every animal has adapted to their biotas including a range of temperatures, their diets (broad or very specific), each have their predators and have various means to save themselves from predation and so on. Animals cannot quickly adapt though, unfortunately, many viruses and some insects can. Animals cannot simply pick up and move somewhere else. If the animal that goes extinct is a keystone species, the entire habitat may collapse without them, think of the beaver. Any change in an environment has an affect, and all life is impacted by global warming. Let’s not forget that entire islands will go under water as the seas rise in which case many unique habitats and animals will simply disappear forever. We will not be able to save everything.
Now for the Lizard. There is little data on the wellbeing of reptiles, though there is some. The American Association for the Advancement of Science reports the following. Having “compared recent and historical surveys for 48 Mexican lizard species at 200 sites,” they discovered that “Since 1975 12% of the local populations have gone extinct.” Using this data, they “verified physiological models of extinction risk with observed local extinctions and extended projections worldwide.” They estimate that since 1975, “4% of local populations have gone extinct worldwide. By “2080 local extinctions are projected to reach 39%”– 20% species extinctions worldwide. These “global projections were validated with local extinctions observed from 1975-2009 for regional biotas on four other continents.” This suggests that “lizards have already crossed a threshold for extinctions caused by climate change.”
As global warming is accelerating more quickly than predicted just a few years ago, I would argue that the rates of local and worldwide extinctions for lizard populations have increased. Lizard lovers, buy a t-shirt, and march. Get Washington acting now. Make the 21st Century the Environmental Revolution, and do what you can to help change the path we are on. I’m talking to millennial too, it’s your future. Blessings to all. With deep respect and love as always.