This weekend, my husband and I took our two kids to the Denver Zoo. Among my daughter's favorites were the gorillas and the jungle exhibits featuring fruit bats, iguanas, blind cave fish, and the like. Despite her enthusiasm, I couldn't help feeling a little sad for the animals who had been deprived of their natural habitats.
But not all animals end up in zoos simply because we'll pay to see them. Many of these animals are threatened by poachers or no longer have a natural habitat to call home, whether because of development, deforestation, or global warming. So they become ambassadors—at least, that's how I chose to look at it.
Or maybe this idea of animal ambassadors was just on my mind. This weekend we also visited with friends who started Darwin Design, an eco T-shirt company that donates 10 percent of profits to organizations that preserve rainforests and marine habitats. Their T-shirts each feature one of six animals threatened by global warming—from African penguins to red-eyed tree frogs—coupled with simple reminders such as (my favorite) "start global cooling," "sustainable is attainable," and "live gently." Check them out.