Estimates of species loss are staggering. In 2007, Sigmar Gabriel from Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of Germany cited estimates that at least thirty percent of all species will be extinct by 2050 if climate change continues to advance as it has been. Others have predicted that as many as 140,000 species are lost every year. The alarming numbers have resulted in some declaring the current period the “Sixth Mass Extinction.”
However, extinctions aren’t new. Though the current is caused by human action, mass reductions in biodiversity can and have occurred without human intrusion. The question then, is what does humankind lose when biodiversity is substantially lowered? Let’s discuss it in more detail.
What is Biodiversity?
Biodiversity refers to biological diversity, describing the variety and diversity of all life on the sea, freshwater, and land. That includes ecosystems and the genes they contain, such as insects, fish, plants, individual birds, and other species.
Why is Biodiversity Important?
Biodiversity is essential for many different reasons. The connectedness of biomes and ecosystems means all organisms in any system should work together and balance to sustain a strong and healthy system. Biodiversity works in much the same way, with every ecosystem and organism working together as part of one more extensive system.
Thus, what does biodiversity mean more specifically? Why is biodiversity essential to ecosystems? Having a diverse biological system guarantee that the system runs smoothly, is at peak productivity, and is less prone to external force or collapse that may threaten the balance of the system. Every ecosystem depends on different factors and parts for it to work efficiently.
Humans need biodiversity as much as any other species. People rely on such ecosystems to provide and maintain purified air and water, climate regulation, food security, raw materials, and recreation. The question is, what happens to people as the world’s biodiversity is negatively impacted?
What are the Threats to Biodiversity?
What happens to the planet when the world’s advances swerve far away from nature? The planet’s biodiversity suffers. Fortunately, many educators, scientists, and conservation groups are seeking ways to prevent the depletion of ecosystems globally.
The loss of biodiversity creates an imbalance in the food web. The less biodiverse the ecosystem has, the more prone it to pest outbreaks, diseases, and failure. If one species fails, then the entire ecosystem is pushed out of whack.
What Can I Do?
One can help maintain their local ecosystem’s biodiversity with some of the following steps:
- Respect the environment. When visiting a park or going on walks, do not disturb the native animals of plants. It’s tempting to pluck all the wildflowers but let the environment live on its beauty so more can grow.
- Support the local farming community. Roadside stands and farmer’s markets are excellent ways to support the local economy.
- Reduce waste. Everyone is putting fewer pollutants and plastics into the environment by lowering the amount of waste they produce.
To sum up, biodiversity is vital for life. Humans need every flower, bee, and a speck of bacteria to keep doing their job so everyone can keep on living for many years to come. It’s everyone’s responsibility to safeguard the world around them.