By Bronagh Loughlin
Picture a world where we did not have to worry about the species living on our planet becoming extinct. We could all live at peace with one, thriving on our beautiful planet without these present fears. Unfortunately, this is not the case as biological diversity is currently under threat, on a global scale.
Today (May 22nd) marks international day for biological diversity and the theme is ‘we’re part of the solution’. This specific day during the year is dedicated to ensuring Earth remains a home for all creatures.
In other words, they can not only survive, but thrive, despite the environment they are dependent on. The day was proclaimed by the United Nations who are eager to spread awareness of the current biodiversity issues and why it is essential that we prevent any further biodiversity loss.
So why is biodiversity important? The term biological diversity is generally thought of in relation to the wide range of microorganisms, animals and plants on Earth. Having biological diversity is incredibly important for human health, animals and the planet, and ultimately our survival.
It essentially enhances ecosystem productivity where every species, despite their size, has a major role to play. To give an example, more plant species means that we as humans have a greater range of crops.
Healthy ecosystems are much likelier to recover and withstand a range of disasters. Therefore, while humans dominate Earth, it is essential that we maintain this diversity within our wildlife. Biodiversity also offers a wide range of natural services for everyone.
This includes biological resources, social benefits and ecosystem services. Some of these ecosystem services include the protection and formation of soils, recycling and storage of nutrients, the protection of water sources and the absorption and breakdown of pollution.
In addition, maintaining climate stability and ecosystems coupled with the ability to recover from unanticipated events. Some of the biological resources include food, pharmaceutical and medical drugs and resources, ornamental plants and wood products and reservoirs for populations and breeding stocks.
A number of the social benefits of having diversity among species include cultural values, tourism and recreation in addition to education, research and monitoring. As a result, biodiversity offers us many free services.
It makes sense economically and developmentally to protect our wildlife and shift towards sustainability. We cannot put a price on restoring our species diversity, however, if we had to, it would be an expensive price tag considering what is at stake.
Nearly all the species on earth are dependent on one another because they are interconnected. When we look at various ecosystems, we discover numerous interactions. These reactions are what keeps Earth habitable and sustainable and it has done so for millions of years. As the diversity of our species decreases, these crucial interactions weaken and can even break.
They harm all of the species within an ecosystem. Ecosystems that are diverse are much more resistant and stronger, particularly, when it comes to disasters. Many of us may not realise that the food we eat, the air we breathe, the clothes we put on our bodies each day and the water we drink all depend on biodiversity.
Therefore, it is crucial that we find ways to prevent the loss of biodiversity. Luckily, there are many ways we can do this. Firstly, we need to stop actions such as deforestation. When we chop down all the trees in a forest or claim an area of land, we risk destroying unique ecosystems.
These ecosystems generally cannot exist elsewhere either. Therefore, it is crucial we avoid this so we can maintain their natural habitat so they can continue to lead a healthy life. In addition, we need to reduce polluting activities.
Dumping rubbish into water supplies or air pollution from factories and cars can have a poor impact on the diversity of our species. Another action that needs to be reduced or better yet, brought to a halt is overfishing. We should only fish for what we need and avoid tactics such as bycatch that risk killing off some of our fish species.
Finally, changes in climate are likely to occur despite climate change. However, given that the current climate crisis is primarily caused by us humans, we need to find ways to live more sustainably and reduce our impact on the planet.
This will help to maintain the diversity of our species so that they can withstand the changing conditions that are otherwise normal and expected. We need to act on this now. Biodiversity is strongly linked to human health.
As mentioned above, it plays a huge role in our lives – we are not just risking species disappearing but our own survival. There is no time left to ponder whether we should take action. We need to work together and take steps that will maintain our biological diversity so we can all survive and thrive on this planet. Are you going to be part of the solution?
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