/Biodiversity Loss – Endangered Future – Let’s Dive Column

Biodiversity Loss – Endangered Future – Let’s Dive Column

The boundless species of animals, the heterogeneity in the characteristics of plants, the authenticity of each place is what makes our green-blue planet inimitable. Humans have spent hundreds of years documenting life on Earth and fortunately, we have a catalogue of 8.6 million species. However, as the impact of mankind on the planet intensifies, scientists fear that numerous types of creatures may run extinct before we even discover them, as irresponsible human activities are annihilating the biological world at an alarming rate and the researchers have warned that we are approaching the sixth mass extinction. According to the latest report published by the UN states, “the world is failing to address a catastrophic biodiversity collapse.” This attests flora and fauna are diminishing at an appalling rate. All in all, whatever we do now will indeed define the future of humanity.

Divided into two primary stems of “bio” and “diversity”, it is the variety of living things such as plants, animals, insects, fungi residing together with mutualism for the ecosystem to flourish. Likewise, these species come together to preserve ecological balance and provide humans, the essential services they demand survival. Have you ever wondered how biodiversity plays a pivotal role in food production?

Importance of biodiversity: Biodiversity plays an essential role in human nutrition through its influence on world food production, as it certifies sustainable yield of soils and aids the genetic resources for all crops and livestock. Furthermore, the plants and animals assist us in maintaining ecological balance by ensuring optimum pollination, climate regulation and water purification is happening. This delineates the dependence of humankind on nature.

Causes of loss of biodiversity: Despite knowing the fact that plants and animals are like the heartbeat of this planet, humans have been ignoring their importance. As a matter of fact, over the past decade, acts such as deforestation, hunting and constructing dams have seized from them, their habitats and communities. These human activities have indeed led to unfortunate consequences such as climate change, hazardous pollution levels and overexploitation of the natural environment.

Impacts of biodiversity loss: Biodiversity loss has triggered many consequences for the environment and humans. Economists predict that it has also impacted the global economy. During the presentation of the IPBES report, David Cooper, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, stated “As we degrade ecosystems, the risk of future pandemic increases.” Some other global impacts include the elimination of species, risk to human beings, propagation of pests and escalation in CO2 emissions.

Solutions to biodiversity loss: During the presentation of the UN report in 2019, the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azulay, encouraged a call of action by the statement “We can no longer destroy the diversity of life. It is our responsibility to future generations.” Furthermore, the nations were encouraged to initiate programs concerning SDG 14 “Life below water” and SDG 15 “Life on land” wherein the focal points should be addressing the challenge of ocean acidification, sustainable fisheries, environmental education and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems.

The loss of biodiversity that we are witnessing is more than nature. The collapse of ecosystems will threaten the well-being and livelihoods of everyone on the planet. It’s time to act and prevent water from flowing under the bridge. We must realise “all for one and one for all, keep biodiversity or our future may fall.”

Written by Taneesha Arora (MYP 4A)