Why should we conserve biodiversity?
The sum of all the varied plant species, mammals, fungi, and microbiological organisms that dwell on Earth, as well as the various habitats in which they live, is known as biodiversity. The genetic information contained in these creatures is also included in biodiversity. Biodiversity is derived from two words: bio, which means life, and diversity, which means variety.
Biodiversity is a significant display of the well-being of an ecosystem. Because biodiversity is most generally connected with species abundance (the number of species in a given area), biodiversity loss is sometimes interpreted as a loss of species from an environment or perhaps the overall biosphere. However, equating habitat destruction with species extinction ignores other subtle events that endanger ecosystem health in the long run. Threats will be dealt with more effectively by a varied range of species than by a limited number of species in large populations. Even if pollution, global warming, or human activities destroy some species, the ecosystem as a totality may be able to adapt and thrive. Extinction of a species, on the other hand, might have unexpected repercussions, culminating to the annihilation of entire ecosystems.
Biodiversity refers to the multiplicity of all existence forms on Planet, comprising plants, animals, and microorganisms, as well as the environments in which they exist. We must protect biodiversity because it is essential for all living organisms as well as the environment.
Some contributing factors to biodiversity loss are-
We Rely on Healthy Ecosystems to Survive
Biodiversity is necessary in almost every element of our life. We analyze biodiversity for a variety of reasons, some of which are practical and others are essential. This indicates that we appreciate biodiversity both for the benefits it provides us and for our selfish reasons. Food, energy, habitat, and medication are among a few instances of utilitarian values provided by biodiversity. Pollination, seed dispersal, climate stability, water cleansing, nutrient availability, and pest control are all essential functions of ecosystems. Biodiversity is also significant for undiscovered benefits, such as novel treatments and other possibly undiscovered functions.
Humans value biodiversity for a variety of cultural reasons, including spiritual or religious one.
Biodiversity is Vital for Human Health
There is a direct correlation between disease outbreaks and biodiversity destruction, according to research. When we degrade the environment, wild animals are forced to come closer to us and spread the diseases they carry.
The Covid-19 pandemic, for example, is suspected to have emerged in a wild animal marketplace in Wuhan, China, where the infection transmitted from animal to person in late 2019. The more we damage nature, the more we will come into contact with wild creatures, resulting in the spread of new viruses. Many medicines are also obtained from natural sources. Aspirin, for example, originates from a chemical found in the willow tree's leaves and bark.
Biodiversity is an Important Component of the Climate Crisis Solution
One of the most compelling reasons to protect biodiversity is that it is critical in combating climate change. Many ecosystems, including forests and wetlands, store a significant quantity of carbon. When these ecosystems are destroyed, carbon is liberated into the environment, provoking global warming.
As trees contain carbon, which is liberated when they are chopped down or burned, forest ecosystem degradation generates 11% of world greenhouse gas emissions.
Expanding forests, on the other hand, may absorb more carbon from the atmosphere, slowing climate change. At least 30% of the emissions reductions required by 2030 to avert the worst effects of climate change. This can be achieved by restoring and managing environment in a better way.
Biodiversity is Vital for the Economy
Another strong argument to preserving biodiversity is its economic value. Environment is accountable for more than half of the $44 trillion global GDP, as per the World Economic Forum. Many businesses are in great risk as a consequence of the lack of biodiversity.
Investing in biodiversity is also beneficial to businesses. According to the United Nations Environment Program, every dollar spent on environmental restoration generates at least $9 in economic benefits. Making agriculture and food production practices more sustainable might result in $4.5 trillion in new commercial opportunities every year by 2030.
Biodiversity is an Essential Element of Human Culture
Various species are significant to different cultural and national identities. Various species are used as national symbols in a total of 142 countries around the world. Unfortunately, 15% of all species are experiencing population reduction, in which two-thirds of them are facing risk of extinction.
Precautions have been taken to safeguard national emblems. Conservation efforts, for example, have brought back American Bald Eagle and Bison, national emblems of the United States, from the brink of extinction.
How critical is Biodiversity Loss?
The loss of biodiversity is disastrous. It's difficult to overstate how much biodiversity has been lost and how much more is on the way if we don't reverse direction.
As per the IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Forum on Biodiversity), nature is depleting at a rate unequaled in human history. Approximately one million plant and animal species are presently listed as critically endangered, which is the highest number till date. The current pace of extinction is 1,000 times higher than it was before humans took control of the world. Many scientists believe that the sixth mass extinction of animals on the planet has already begun.
When we look at mammals, which are the simplest to track, we can see that the total number of animals on the planet has decreased by half since 1970. Freshwater environments have suffered the fastest reduction in animal populations, with numbers dropping by 75% since 1970. This is because "Rivers are the base of the system," according to Dave Tickner, WWF's main freshwater advisor. Everything that happens on land finishes up in the waterways. Every year, for instance, dozens of billions of tons of wastewater are thrown in India's Ganges."
Nevertheless, this decline is also visible on land, for example, tiger numbers have decreased by 96.1 percent in the last century.
Under the Sea
The scenario isn't much better beneath the waves. In the previous four decades, marine animal populations have plummeted by 40%, and unregulated overfishing has resulted in a dramatic drop in catches since 1996. This is a major problem because fish is the primary protein source for nearly one billion people worldwide.
Finally, scientists have declared that we are in the midst of an Insect Apocalypse, with 40% of insect populations dropping and one-third threatened. This drop is eight times quicker than that of mammals, birds, and reptiles, resulting in an annual loss of 1-2 percent of insects.
What Can We Do to Reverse Biodiversity Loss?
Give Space to Nature
Giving nature space, such as through wildlife reserves, is the most effective strategy to conserve biodiversity. Currently, 15% of the land and 7% of the water bodies are protected. Many scientists, on the other hand, say that to avoid catastrophic biodiversity loss, half of the world's land surface should be set aside. To allow animals to roam between these protected areas and retain genetic variety, we would need to connect them.
By altering our diets, we may all contribute to the conservation of biodiversity. Every year, for example, we clear vast swaths of forest to make room for cattle to generate meat for us to consume. We can lessen forest clearing and biodiversity devastation by eliminating meat from our meals.
Palm oil, which is sourced from the oil palm tree and used in daily items like chocolate, packaged bread, and ice cream, is also a major deforestation driver. Palm oil exploitation is the primary threat to 193 critically endangered, scarce, or fragile species around the world. We can all contribute to biodiversity conservation by consuming fewer items containing palm oil.
Highlight the Value of Biodiversity
Finally, a better understanding of the significance of nature is another strategy to conserve biodiversity. We can do so by calculating the monetary value of ecosystems as well as the economic advantages of their preservation.
Participate in Energy Conservation Programs
Because one of the main causes of biodiversity loss is our consumption of natural resources, it is our responsibility to purchase goods that are manufactured in the closest sustainable manner possible. Furthermore, as we buy these things, our desire for eco-friendly products rises, encouraging more businesses to manufacture them.
Conclusion: It is Vital to Preserve Biodiversity
The world is facing an unparalleled biodiversity crisis that jeopardizes humanity's basic survival. Species populations have plummeted all around us, and if they become extinct, they will vanish forever.
While the problem of biodiversity loss may appear daunting and dismal, there are things that every one of us may do to help. We can stop the degradation of environment by altering our diet and forcing legislators to take the matter seriously.
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