It's World Environment Day on Friday 5th June, and the theme for 2020 is Biodiversity. We're taking a look all week at the impact our consumer choices make upon biodiveristy and the simple changes we can make to them.
So what is Biodiversity?
Simply put, biodiversity is the range of species of organisms across the world. Biodiversity is important, and indeed vital, for the continuation of life as we know it to continue. The many species within each ecosystem interact in a multitude of ways; disruption to the complex interactions can cause untold damage in often unpredicatable ways.
As Mufasa explained the Circle of Life to a young Simba in The Lion King, "When we die, we become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass. And so, we are all connected". The simple food chain he described is a part of the picture, but by no means all - even just the grass' growth is dependent on biodiversity. The generation and enrichment of the soil is dependent on a huge variety of microorganisms, insects and small creatures. The water cycle is heavily influenced by ecosystems and the life within them; presence or absence of water differentiates a rainforest from a desert. For humans, the picture is further complicated by our reliance on agriculture and pharmaceutical products derived from nature.
We've all heard the odd news snippet about a now-extinct species of salamander, or parrot, or the very last of a species not having been seen in years. But what isn't reported enough is the huge and devastating loss of biodiversity the world has experienced over the last few decades, estimated to be the most rapid in the planet's history (including the loss of dinosaurs).
Climate change, habitat loss and ocean acidification are predicted to continue this trend of biodiversity loss over coming decades, with potentially devastating consequences. As with so many problems the world faces, our consumer choices are the biggest driver of these issues and it would seem that the only way to halt the course we are on is to make different choices going forwards.
Follow our blog series this week, where we will be outlining the changes we can make. Change doesn't have to be drastic to make a difference, and it doesn't have to be painful or reduce our enjoyment of life. At Small Eco Steps, we want to help make small changes that are sustainable and manageable.