What is Biodiversity? Why is it important? What Can We Do?
By Donna Ferron Chair: ecoCaledon
WHAT IS BIODIVERSITY?
Biodiversity, or biological diversity, is:
The diversity of species that populate the Earth (animals, plants, fungi, algae, bacteria, viruses, etc.)
The diversity between individuals of a same species or genetic diversity (difference of size, shape, colour, etc.)
The diversity of ecosystems, i.e. the different environments (a pond, forest, coral reef) the species that inhabit them, and their interaction.
In other words, biodiversity is all around us and we are part of it ourselves. It is difficult to quantify as a large number of species are microscopic, live hidden, or simply have yet to be discovered. There are currently around 1.9 million living species catalogues worldwide, but this is only the visible tip of the iceberg.
Why is Biodiversity Important?
Biodiversity is the result of 3.8 billion years of evolution, and is essential to our survival. Food, building materials, insulation and decoration, natural textile fibres, active ingredients in many medicines, pollution, de-pollution of the air, water and soil, flood limitation… biodiversity offers a wealth of products and services without which life on Earth as we know it would not be possible.
Unfortunately, all too often we forget just how much we owe to biodiversity; it is often taken for granted, perceived as being free and eternal… but today is seriously threatened b human activity: destruction of fragmentation of habitat, multiple forms of pollution, over-hunting, over-fishing, over-exploitation of land and forest, over-production of greenhouse gasses leading to climate change.
Maintaining biodiversity is one of the main environmental challenges our planet has to face at the beginning of the 21st century.
Everyone can make a contribution in protecting biodiversity, and the participation of each and everyone of us is needed. We can all act at or own level – without making major changes to our way of life – by adopting a few simple actions in our daily life: eating local, seasonal produce, saving water, composting food waste, learning to recognize the plant and animal species that surround us
Below are a few ways you can make a contribution in protection biodiversity.
I SUPPORT NATURE-PROTECTION ASSOCIATIONS.
I DO NOT DISTURB ANIMALS WHEN I AM OUT WALKING.
I USE MY PORTABLE COMPUTER FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE.
This information is provided by HPDBN -The Halton Peel BioDiversity Network