Did you know that by 2050, 25% of all land animals and plants will become extinct? Or, that 1 in 10 animals and plants are slated to be extinct by that year? What if I told you that we are currently in the midst of our planet’s 6th mass extinction? This rapid loss of biodiversity over the last 200 years has been directly linked to human activity. Biodiversity is essential to human life, as it is through the web of life that all species are supplied with the essentials needed for survival.
The Deadliest Species:
Biodiversity is defined as the diversity of life in all its forms. In the last two centuries, the exploitation of natural resources, environmental degradation, and the growth in the human population have rapidly increased the extinction of thousands of species. Biodiversity is imperative for an ecosystem to remain resilient in times of stress. As species become extinct, the diversity of ecosystems is reduced and the ecosystem itself may be lost.
Facts on Loss of Biodiversity:
- 12,259 species are known by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) to be threatened with extinction.
- Experts report that the rate at which species are becoming extinct is 1,000 to 10,000 times higher than the natural rate would be.
- The world’s forests house about 50% of global biodiversity.
- An estimated 80% of the original forests that covered the Earth 8,000 years ago have been cleared, damaged or fragmented.
- Forests are disappearing at a rate of 0.8% per year, and tropical forests are disappearing at an annual rate of 4%.
- Greenhouse gasses that will kill 1 in 10 plants have already been discharged into our atmosphere.
- One-third of the world’s coral reefs have already died, and another one-third is threatened.
- Many species are already destined for extinction – as it takes at least 25 years for the greenhouse effect to have its full effect on the planet.
- Between 10,000 and 20,000 plant species are used in medicines worldwide.
How can I make an impact?
Action 1: Global Goodness
- Watch the documentary, Racing Extinction.
- The best way to support biodiversity is to spend time in nature where you live. When you gain an appreciation for plants and animals in your area, you will want to work to protect them.
- Support the pollinators. Pollinators are essential in helping flowering plants to reproduce, as well as to supply food for many insects and animals.
- Reduce your carbon footprint. Take a free test online to see what type of impact you are having on the planet – and work daily to reduce your footprint.
Action 2: Planet Protector
- All of Action 1.
- Replenish the natural habitat in your area. Look back to see what plants and grasses naturally grew there before lawns and landscaping removed them. By replanting the native habitat, you can replenish the biodiversity of what once resided there.
- Reduce your consumption. The less you buy, the less natural resources are used for production. Our natural resources are home to millions of species.
- Educate yourself on biodiversity. The more knowledge you have, the more you can support and inform others.
Action 3: Earth Angel
- All of Actions 1 & 2.
- Support conservation and endangered species efforts. Donate, volunteer, and take part in your local conservation initiatives.
- Advocate for Biodiversity. Share on social media; have real conversations with your friends and family about the impact we are having on biodiversity.
- Lobby your government. Sign petitions and support measures to protect biodiversity.
- Spread Love. Spread Light.