If empathy were an animal, it would undoubtedly be on the endangered species list–potentially on the cusp of meeting a fate comparable to the woolly mammoth or the saber-toothed cat. Since 1973, the purpose of the Endangered Species Act has been to protect endangered animals and foster habitat, which not only promotes safety and recovery from the events or circumstances that led to rapid decline, but also advocates and educates for future changes in policy, procedures, and society to ensure the animals are nourished and safeguarded. In short, the endangered species list attempts to save animals before it is too late. Although not a living organism, empathy is on the verge of becoming an endangered social skill.
Unlike extinct animals, empathy will leave no skeletons below the surface, and without immediate attention, empathy may vanish from the face of the earth, without any evidence that it was ever here.
Due to a variety of current technological advancements and societal development in the last 10 years, empathy is on the brink of extinction. The thought of living in a world without empathy should be enough to get the attention of most people who work in the field of education.
As educators, we are faced with the reality that empathy has been placed on the endangered social skill list. Over the last 10 years, empathy has seen a steady devaluation due to several factors, including compassion fatigue, burnout, technology advancements, war, pandemic, and other outside stressors.