“Every day, up to 150 species are lost.” That is the conclusion of U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity scientists. We, as the smartest species in the world, are not treating our fellow species wisely. We dominate them and make them vanish every single hour. Humans do not realize that biodiversity is the most vital feature of our planet. Changes in the environment and biodiversity are interconnected. Lower diversity results in more diseases, lower security, and other vital problems. If we ignore life of other species on the Earth, we will soon pay for it.
Biodiversity is the contraction of “biological diversity”. The term means the variety of living organisms from any sources in Earth. It is the foundation of the ecosystems including layers of organisms. Biodiversity includes not only unmanaged but also managed ecosystems. Biodiversity is presumed to be limited to unmanaged ecosystems like oceans, forests, wildlands. This is a common wrong conception. The term biodiversity also covers farms, ranches, and urban parks, and even pets in your home. They have managed ecosystems. Biodiversity is omnipresent on the Earth, on the surface, underwater, and in the air. However, we seldom appreciate biodiversity because most of living organisms are as small as five centimeters.
Biodiversity is the most vital feature of nature, as professor David MacDonald, at Oxford University affirms that, “Without biodiversity, there is no future for humanity.” It plays an important role in ecosystem function that provides ecosystem services, biological resources, and social benefits to human beings. In the macroscale of ecosystem services, there are four main cycles: nitrogen cycle, carbon cycle, photosynthesis, and the water cycle. All of them need the participation of animals and plants to happen. Species also contribute to soils formation and protection. Biodiversity provides biological resources, such as, food, medical resources, wood, etc. In an CNN report, “One third of all our food—fruits and vegetables—would not exist without pollinators visiting flowers”. This statement mentions honeybees, the primary species that fertilize plants. Another important role of biodiversity is social benefits. It provides us enjoyment and tourism, such as parks, zoos and beaches. Additionally, it provides cultural values, like dogs and cats.
There are a lot of threats to biodiversity makes species are loss faster and faster. First and foremost, climate change contributes the most in biodiversity loss. Changes in climate has adversely affected species globally and permanently. For example, marine biodiversity and vegetation zones shift when ocean temperature rises. Another major threat to biodiversity is deforestation. It is the direct cause of biodiversity and habitat loss. According to Mashable, 18 acres of forests are lost each year. It was because of logging and other human practices. Overexploitation contributes to a huge loss of species. We overfish and overhunt to fulfill the demand for food. Other indirect causes of biodiversity loss namely pollution and invasive species. According to Mashable, 19 billion pounds of plastic are dumped into the ocean every year. It is obvious that the major factor makes species vanishing faster than ever before is human activities. Biodiversity loss is because of humans’ demands, especially for food and energy.
According to Center for Biological Diversity organization, we are in the middle of the sixth mass extinction of plants and animals. Extinction is a natural phenomenon, and it usually happens at the rate of one to five species a year. However, species now are being lost at 1,000 to 10,000 times the natural rate. Center for Biological Diversity gives an estimation that thirty to fifty percent of all species possibly will be extinct by mid-century. They also affirm that “99 percent of currently threaten species are at risk from human activities primarily through driving habitat loss, introduction of exotic species, global warming.” Human beings, as the smartest species, are the dominant the main cause of fellow species’ extinction. If we keep ignoring disappearance of animals and plants, we will soon pay for it.
Biodiversity loss adversely affect humanity, especially higher health risk and lower security. In the academic journal, Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health vol 10, issue 6, page 1432, the article “Biodiversity loss: Public health risk of disease spread and epidemics” gives us a comprehensive look at the affect of biodiversity loss to humans’ health. Humanity is an integral and inseparable part of the nature. Our health depends ultimately on the extinction and health of other species and the natural functions of the ecosystems. Biodiversity and epidemics are interconnected. Increase in host diversity results in decrease in magnitude and impact of epidemics. This is called dilution effect. Through research of Lyme disease, a disease transmitted to humans from mice through ticks, they concluded that, “A region rich in diversity of species of vertebrates has protective effect against vulnerability of human vector-borne communicable diseases”. The loss of biodiversity also leads to less security for humans. Without plants and animals, natural disasters occur more and more than ever before. Without diversity in food source, we put ourselves in the risk of starvation. There used to be a variety of plants that supply food in a field. However, there is usually just one kind of food-supply plants in a field nowadays. If epidemic explodes, we will have nothing left to eat. We need to take action now or the next species to be on the verge of extinction may be us.
There are plenty of ways to help and protect biodiversity, directly and indirectly. We can support species like birds, fish, or plants that live in our area. Volunteering to participate in environmental organizations is a great way to help. One of the most important activities we can do is to reduce climate change by reusing and recycling. We do not need a new bottle of water every time we need to drink, nor we need new plastic bags when we go to the grocery store. Indirect ways to save the environment and species namely saving water and energy, buy organic foods to prevent the use of pesticides, using paper carefully really help. Donating money to a conservation organization or being an educator can influence other people to give a hand to save species.
Biodiversity is the most complex and important function of nature. However, humanity is threating the existence of other species. We are exploiting resources, over hunting, deforesting to serve the need of our economy, culture, religion, technology improvement, etc. Out demands beget habitat loss, environment pollutions (air, water, and soil), climate changes and other threats to species. That results in both direct and perceptible issues and indirect issue, especially to human health. We need to take immediate actions, or our next generations are not going to exist.
“Biodiversity & Human Well-Being.” Define biodiversity, GreenFacts, 6 June 2005, www.greenfacts.org/en/biodiversity/l-3/1-define-biodiversity.htm.
The article gives clear definition of biodiversity. The source gives information about dimensions of biodiversity, and the importance of other species. A general look at current trends in biodiversity is also given. This source is recommended to explain the concept of biodiversity and its importance.
“Cycles in Nature.” Central Place and Bid-Rent Theories | S-Cool, the Revision Website, S-Cool , 21 Oct. 2008, www.s-cool.co.uk/gcse/chemistry/the-earth-and-the-atmosphere/revise-it/cycles-in-nature.
The source provides useful information about four main cycles on the Earth. They are nitrogen cycle, carbon cycle, photosynthesis, and water cycle. The cycles are explained thoroughly from their beginning to their end. Pictures are provided as illustration for those cycles. The source is useful to give readers information about cycles and explain the importance of them.
“How to Help Biodiversity.” How to Help Biodiversity, AMNH, 20 Aug. 2017, www.amnh.org/ology/features/stufftodo_bio/howtohelp.php.
The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) offers ways to protect biodiversity. They also call for actions as they say that humans are the keepers of this green planet. The source is recommended to provide people ways to help other species with different backgrounds and situations.
Petronzio, Matt. “5 Major Threats to Biodiversity, and How We Can Help Curb Them.” Mashable, Mashable, 23 May 2015, mashable.com/2015/05/23/biodiversity-threats/#Syb2WGvjPZqb.
Matt Petronzio writes an informative article about what makes species vanish significantly. All of the causes are relevant to humans. He also links food, energy and biodiversity. In conclusion, extinction of animals and plants is because humanity demands for food and energy is so enormous. The source gives a comprehensive look at the connection between humans’ activities and life of other species.
“The Extinction Crisis.” The Extinction Crisis, Center for Biological Diversity, 5 July 2009, www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/biodiversity/elements_of_biodiversity/extinction_crisis/.
The website mentions the extinction crisis we are facing nowadays. Species are disappearing 1,000 to 10,000 than natural extinction rate. The source also illustrates what will happen if biodiversity is low. The source is great to provide current status of the environment and useful to call for actions.
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