“In the last 500 years 844 plants and animals had become extinct because of the rising global population, habitat damage and change, over exploitation, the introduction of alien species and climate change. About 6 million hectares of primary forest are felled each year and about one-third of all mangrove swamps have been lost since the 1980’s. Up to 52% of the species of birds studied face possible extinction.” (p334 Designing 2050 Peter Ellyard)
What is biodiversity? Does it matter? If so, why?
As with everything else related to climate matters, there are layers upon layers of complexity ranging from degradation of forest systems to global economics and medicines, the drug trade and displacement of small communities living deep within the Amazon and elsewhere.
Biodiversity provides the basis for all life on earth. Healthy ecosystems in remote, far flung places of the world support our economic and social development, and are vital to our health and well-being. When our lives are sheltered from nature, it’s easy to take our natural world for granted and possibly even dismiss it as unimportant. Other than providing food and water, many everyday items come from nature including building materials, fibers, dyes, rubber and oil. We’d be lost without them.
Healthy biodiversity and sound ecosystems support and maintain clean water and clean air. They impact on our climate. Pollination (usually by bees) is vital for crop success, and healthy soil structure helps prevent erosion and desertification. These are no small matters. They are vital to the well-being and security of all people, not just in developing countries.
There are significant benefits to biodiverstiy and healthy ecosystems that are hard to put a dollar value on - though many economists are beginning to factor in benefits such as spiritual and aesthetic values. Leisure and holiday activities such as hiking, birdwatching or natural history study are a joy for many people.
Biodiversity supports psychological health, inspires musicians, painters, photographers, sculptors, writers and other artists. How drab life would be without these things to transport us into a different realm.
To continue living on planet Earth, we need to have long term respect for, and encourage global efforts to support optimum health of our diverse ecosystems. Corporations worldwide need to take their responsibilities as stewards of complex ecologies seriously, and with a view to the future of mankind.
Conservation, and the risks associated with biodiversity loss and ecosystem disturbance is a far wider issue than dismissively labelling those who take an interest as radical greenies. It underpins our very existence. Climate change is affecting the diversity of species, but our destructive habits are also contributing massively.
|Loss of frogs is often associated with stressed habitats.|
Last year I wrote about what constitutes Bullying for B in my theme of workplace bullying. Here.