WHY BIODIVERSITY MATTERS
In honor of World Biodiversity Day (May 22), we thought we would take a moment to touch base on how important biodiversity is, and why it matters so much for the future of our planet!
So what exactly is Biodiversity?
Well, Biodiversity is comprised of many different species, which are interconnected with each other, and with the environment. For example, in our world – we would have no fruit to eat if we didn’t have bees to pollinate our crops, and we would have no oxygen to breathe, if we didn’t have plants to convert the carbon dioxide we exhale into fresh air! In fact, coral reefs actually provide people living on the coast with protection from tsunamis, while trees work to absorb air pollution in cities! There are countless interconnections that have been discovered by scientists – all accumulated over millions of years of evolution. Biodiversity is what boosts productivity in ecosystems – where each species – no matter how big or how small – has an important role to play in the circle of life.
The Current State
The current state of biodiversity on our planet is of great concern. Sadly, many species are currently threatened with extinction, making the future look increasingly bleak for all of us. If we lose even one link in this chain, it will weaken the connections that benefit us all.
Interestingly enough, many scientists have already started reporting that the Sixth Mass Extinction has begun, and according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature: 25% of mammals, 41% of amphibians, and 13% of birds are now threatened!
Recently, Germany also revealed that it has lost 75% of its flying insects over the last 25 years! This is a huge loss – as insects not only help to pollinate plants, but they also help to decompose waste! In addition, some species of fish are also becoming extinct, or becoming very under populated in some areas, and this is due mainly to overfishing! Also worth noting is the amount of plastic pollution found in our waters, which results in entanglement of sea life, as well as being ingested.
Why has this occurred
Hunting, poaching, pesticides, pollution, and overfishing have all greatly contributed to the decline of wildlife worldwide! The destruction of forests – known as deforestation – is also of great concern, as its effects result in the direct loss of plant and animal species due to the loss of their habitats – which further weakens the interconnections of species in ecosystems, and therefore reduces biodiversity.
On an individual level, we can try eating a more vegan diet, plant more seeds in our gardens to help our pollinators, and avoid using household pesticides which kill insects. Let’s also ensure we are recycling properly, while helping protect animal habitats by cleaning up plastic pollution found in parks, reserves, or on beaches! On a global level, we as humans need to set more land aside for wildlife reserves, where animals can have the protection they need. Plus, we need to encourage our local governments to take initiatives that decrease threats to biodiversity, while helping to protect animal habitat! We all must pull together to ensure we have a healthy and sustainable planet, well into the future.
World Biodiversity Day will be held on May 22, 2019.