The way we live our lives is sending biodiversity into decline. Thank you Sir David Attenborough for continuing to bring Biodiversity issues to our attention.
Biodiversity loss is real, it’s scary and it’s all of our responsibilities. It is not good enough for us to talk about it and then just ignore it. We must all now change our living habits to ensure we reverse the animal threat of extinction and climate change, so that the human species may also stay protected.
Plant and animal species are disappearing at an ever-faster rate due to human activity. Biodiversity, described as the variety of all living things on our planet, has been declining at an alarming rate in recent years, mainly due to human activities, such as land use changes, for example deforestation, intensive monoculture, urbanisation, pollution, climate change, and direct exploitation such as hunting and over-fishing.
In a UN report published in 2019, scientists warned that one million species, out of an estimated total of only eight million, are threatened with extinction, many within decades. Some researchers even consider we are in the middle of the sixth mass extinction event in Earth’s history. Earlier known mass extinctions wiped out between 60% and 95% of all species and it takes millions of years for ecosystems to recover from such an event.
Healthy ecosystems provide us with the environment we take for granted. Plants convert energy from the sun making it available to other life forms. Bacteria and other living organisms break down organic matter into nutrients providing plants with healthy soil to grow in. Pollinators are essential in plant reproduction, guaranteeing our food production.
Plants and oceans act as major carbon sinks. Biodiversity provides us with clean air, fresh water, good quality soil and crop pollination. It helps us fight climate change and adapt to it as well reduce the impact of natural hazards.
Since all living organisms interact in ecosystems, the disappearance of one species will have a far-reaching impact. It is impossible to know exactly what the consequences of mass extinctions would be for humans, but we do know that it is the diversity of nature that allows us to thrive.
A number of world-renowned scientists now believe that it the destruction of habitat and loss of biodiversity have created the perfect conditions for new viruses like Covid-19 to emerge with profound health and economic impacts for the entire globe.
Indeed, as habitat and biodiversity loss increase globally, scientists believe the coronavirus outbreak may be just the beginning of mass pandemics, in which case what we are currently experiencing may well be just the beginning.
Biodiversity is happening, it doesn’t get any plainer than that, but it is now up to each and everyone of us to start changing our living habits so that we reverse the trend, so that the human species and animals may live and we save our planet for future generations.