I am writing in response to the article "150,000 penguins starved" (Young Post, February 17).
All 17 species of penguins are found almost exclusively in the southern hemisphere. The penguin is a unique animal. It is a type of bird, but it is very different from other birds. Birds fly while penguins swim and dive. Penguins molt all their feathers at once, instead of replacing a few feathers at a time. They can also walk upright like humans. So why are penguins an endangered species?
According to the WWF, climate change is the biggest threat to their survival. Because of human activities, the Earth's temperature is rising every year. The areas where penguins live, such as Antarctica, are being destroyed by global warming. They struggle to reproduce because their homes and food supplies are being destroyed.
Penguins are also threatened by commercial fishing. Although some fishermen take part in conservation efforts, penguins still have to compete with humans for food.
To save penguins, we must use fewer natural resources and burn fewer fossil fuels like coal, natural gas and oil. We must save the environment first if we want to have any hope of saving penguins.
If penguins become extinct, the food chain will be badly affected. Animals which eat penguins, like some whales or seals, would also suffer. Without penguins, they wouldn't have anything to eat. This creates a domino effect throughout the food chain.
We must appreciate and take care of what we have, before it is too late.
Prudence Mak, Tak Nga Secondary School
From the Editor
Thank you for your letter, Prudence. Young Post agrees that we must do what we can to stop climate change.
While it might seem impossible for us to make a difference, that is exactly what each of us needs to do. We need to make choices every day that affect the environment. Do we keep the air conditioning running when we aren't in the room? Do we use a lot of water while we have a relaxing shower? Do we choose skincare products that contain micro beads which end up in the ocean? Do we choose environmentally-friendly sushi and take our own bags when we go shopping?
They might sound like small steps, but if everyone stopped to think for a minute and made these simple changes, it would make a big difference to the environment.
If all Hongkongers just reduced their food waste and recycled their rubbish, we would go a long way to helping the Earth.