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Opinion: Fox running across ASU football pitch symbolizes a bigger problem

The appearance of the fox in the game should serve as a reminder of the importance of preserving the balance between humanity and wildlife.

In the middle of ASU’s football game against the University of Southern California in early November, a the fox ran on the field. The game stopped, the crowd was in awe, and the trend immediately started on social media, before my in-game friends could even send me their own photos of the fox.

Seeing the fox in the field reminded me of when I watched a cat running on a baseball field at LoanDepot Park in Miami. The cat and the fox running on their respective fields gave me similar feelings of sadness and guilt towards the animals.

As comical and interesting as it is, the fox running across the field symbolizes something bigger. Humans have appropriated wildlife habitats for a long time now, so it was only a matter of time before an animal interfered with an urban environment.

According to Karen Bradshaw, professor of law at Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law who focuses on environmental law and wrote a animal rights book, the coexistence of humans with animals is crucial for the future of humans and animals.

“Our continued existence depends on theirs – the loss of biodiversity is a hidden crisis and one of the greatest threats to humanity. We are linked to all other living things on earth,” Bradshaw said.

Loss of biodiversity occurs when there is a decrease in biodiversity within the earth and, according to Bradshaw, is one of our greatest threats to humanity. Biodiversity provides vital and irreplaceable ecosystem functions in the event of loss, such as soil fertilization, tree pollination and erosion control to name a few. It is important that humans take care of and share space with wildlife to avoid further loss of biodiversity.

“Maybe the fox was a very public reminder that wildlife still coexists with humans, everywhere, even in the most human of spaces,” Bradshaw said. “Perhaps it was a symbolic invitation for current ASU students – who will become the future leaders of the state of Arizona – to envision a new way of understanding our campus, our community and our world.”

There are many ways the ASU community can use their innovation skills to develop creations where wildlife and people can share a common space. Bradshaw said she “would love to see ASU’s public spaces transformed to practice and model cutting-edge environmental soundness,” and believes ASU students, staff and alumni have the brains and creativity to make positive progress in this direction.

Wildlife as we know it is constantly changing and moving due to human destruction, which is sad and disturbing, especially since wildlife and biodiversity are needed for the world to continue to function. The shrinking wildlife space will continue to cause biodiversity loss, threatening humanity as we know it.

It is important for humans to grow and thrive, but not when we are trying to take the place of wildlife. Every animal and plant plays an important role on this planet and the damage we humans do to wildlife cannot be erased. Right now, it’s too late to fully repair human damage, but it’s better late than never to start at all.

Contact the columnist at [email protected] and follow @_alexmarie on Twitter.

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Editor’s Note: The opinions presented in this column are those of the author and do not imply endorsement by The State Press or its editors.

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