Biodiversity: What it is and Why it Matters!

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Biodiversity is the variety of life: all the plants, animals and organisms and the ecosystems of which they are a part. A big definition, but it’s a big concept that is quite important to everyone that lives on the planet Earth.

We all want our children to grow up and see all creatures great and small – as we have been able to see – in both nature and in animal habitats (zoos, museums, preserves, etc). But with the push and pull of the sensitive atmosphere, places like deserts, rainforests and coral reefs are diminishing, as are the things that live there.

We are also all very familiar with the food chain and how important it is not to disrupt it. Having a strong ecosystem helps the food chain to not get out of whack when man-made or natural disasters occur. But when disaster strikes, our ecosystem is shuddering under the mounting pressure we have put on it.

Unfortunately, our ecosystem is “buckling under the strain of unsustainable development,” according to the 2010 United Nations Environment Program’s Global Biodiversity Outlook 3. Most ecosystems are declining at a rapid rate with no hope for swift or sustainable change.

Biodiversity indicators 2010

Summary of available biodiversity indicators. Graphs compiled by Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2010) Global Biodiversity Outlook 3, May 2010, p.68

So what can we do to make a difference?

  • Buy goods that are made through sustainable practices. Stay away from cheaply made products that don’t last and wreak havoc on our environment to produce.
  • Check to see if you local area has a biodiversity action plan. These plans are created by the government or your local environmental protection group and have ways that locals can get involved to help out. Your area doesn’t have one? Maybe you can create one with a group of friends and your kids! What a way to make a lasting impression on your community.

As I always say, there is no such thing as small acts, only small thinkers! Think big!

Green Parenting is published every other Friday.

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