Now or Never for Biodiversity

by mckaylalennox on October 7, 2016 - 6:40pm

    The most important, yet overlooked, global issue all species are facing currently isn't climate change or poverty but biodiversity loss. Biodiversity is what makes the world we all live in, livable. Without biodiversity there would be no life at all, and I think this fact alone should be a huge wake up call for current and future generations. It is the web of life, allowing us the water we drink, the food we eat and the nature we depend on. Biodiversity has been diminishing because of human impact, and this needs to change. All of the environmental issues we face, we face because of human impact resulting in  biodiversity loss, they are inextricably linked. Biodiversity loss can refer to a number of species, including insects, mammals, plants and more. These are crucial for human survival and undoubtedly Earth’s survival.  

    On July 15, 2016 BBC News published a compelling and visual article written by science writer, Robert Thompson, titled “Scientists warn of ‘unsafe’ decline in biodiversity”. The purpose of this article is to provide current knowledge on biodiversity loss to inform policy makers, and to hopefully have a debate on how to use the Earth’s land. One of the main actors involved would evidently be the government, due to their direct influence on land and conservation issues as well as legalities. The other actors involved are current and future generations. Every ecosystem is dependent on another and as a species ourselves we are dependent on all living organisms wether we are aware or not. It is a fact that, “losing more than 10% of the biodiversity in an area places the local ecosystem at risk.”(Thompson) In the article it states that, “58% of the world’s land coverage already falls below this safe level.” (Thompson) Theres no more time we can afford to wait and see the future impacts associated with human impact causing biodiversity loss. This loss will majorly “reduce the resilience of ecosystems in the faces of environmental changes such as global warming.” (Thompson) Biodiversity loss is perhaps the number one threat we will be facing in the near or far future. Fortunately, there is still time to get back to this safe value of 10% if the government acts soon. 

    Since biodiversity loss can be caused from a vast number of human impacts, differing from deforestation to ocean acidification, the problem is much larger than most think. Different types of implementation tools and policy instruments were discussed in lecture that I believe relate to this issue of biodiversity loss. With the government being the most influential when it comes to the economy and the environment, implementation tools are a possible step in the right direction to controlling human impact. There are substantive policy instruments which are intended to directly change behavior such as laws and regulations. There are two types which are both useful in this situation, regulatory and economic instruments. Regulatory instruments are the most popular for controlling pollution, managing natural resources and land use planning. This is key for overcoming biodiversity and I feel will help in the long run. There are also economic instruments which focus on taxes for example, on unwanted activities. Personally, this article brought my knowledge on biodiversity loss to a whole new perspective. I believe that the government and society can turn these statistics of biodiversity loss around and allow future generations a life that they deserve. Maybe it will not happen for a few generation, but if we at least try there will always be hope.

 

References

 

Thompson, Robert. "Scientists Warn of 'unsafe' Decline in Biodiversity." BBC News. N.p., 15 July 2016. Web. 07 Oct. 2016.    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-36805227

Comments

Hi mckaylalennox,

I thought this was a very insightful post on bringing more attention to the loss of biodiversity around the globe! This is definitely an issue that needs the media coverage to raise public awareness. I think your post might be even more captivating if you mentioned how exactly biodiversity loss affects the environment as well as humans. For example, how biodiversity loss can affect ecosystem functions such as carbon sequestration or soil nutrient productivity. It’s functions such as these that can improve environmental quality and as you say, “allowing us the water we drink, the food we eat and the nature we depend on.”

I also agree with your statements about the government being the most influential when it comes to the economy and environment, however sometimes their influence is not always in the direction of preservation or sustainability. For example a paper by Hutchings et al. (1997) show various examples where the government creates policies and regulations that negatively affect the management of various areas. But as long as the government does things properly, they can be very effective as you mentioned.

Great post!

References

Hutchings, J.A., Walters, C., and Haedrich, R.L. 1997. Is scientific inquiry incompatible with government information control? Canadian Journal of Fish and Aquatic Sciences. 54:1198-1210.

Hi mckaylalennox,

I thought this was a really good post about the loss of biodiversity around the world. I agree with you that biodiversity isn't as big of an issue to us as it should be. I think part of that stems from the uncertainty of what exactly biodiversity does for ecosystems and why it is important. I don't entirely agree with your point that losing 10% of the biodiversity in an ecosystem would put it at risk. Even in the article you site, it says to take the definitive level of 10% with caution because biodiversity is very complex and so it's hard to say exactly how it affects ecosystems. I think including that could improve your post by showing the complexity of biodiversity and highlighting how difficult it is to overcome biodiversity loss. I do agree with you you that government should be the main actor in implementing policy to help reduce human caused biodiversity loss. Overall I think this was a good post!