Can the Car You Drive Change the Fate of the Giant Panda?

Great news for conservationists and nature lovers around the world broke early last September. The Giant Panda is now listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List -- a down-listing from its previously held status of Endangered.

According to the IUCN, a non-profit organization which conducts threat-assessments of thousands of species, the Giant Panda has been growing in numbers steadily since the 1990's. Today, it says, there are about 2,000 individuals in the wild -- double the historic low Panda population in the 1970's.

While the Panda's population may be stable for now, the IUCN projects further declines in the next 80 years. "Climate change is predicted to eliminate more than 35 percent of the Panda's bamboo habitat," the organization writes.

Believe it or not, the car you drive can help determine the future of these magnificent animals.

The EPA reports that 26 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, namely, the burning of fuels like gasoline and diesel. That is a big chunk of the total impact on climate -- second only to electricity production. You can help by taking public transportation, carpooling, bicycling, or walking whenever possible.

When you do drive a car, make it an efficient, low-emission vehicle, like a Toyota hybrid.

Toyota Motor Corporation supports the IUCN, funding over 28,000 species assessments in the next five years, and has dedicated itself to slashing energy and water use in auto manufacturing. The best place to buy and service your hybrid is at DCH Toyota of Torrance. We are a LEED-Certified dealership, and we stand by our commitment to the environment.

Together, we can make the future a brighter place for our grandchildren, and species like the Giant Panda.

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