What is Biodiversity and Why is it Important?
Updated: Aug 14
Habitats, wildlife, and balanced ecosystems all contribute to the earth's biodiversity--find out how you can help.
Biodiversity is an essential part of the solution to climate change. But what is it, and why is it so important? It’s important to understand biodiversity, and its importance in the way the world functions every day…and there is no better place to do that than at the incredible Eden Project in Cornwall, UK.
The Eden Project
The Eden Project is a haven in southwest England that aims to build relationships between people and the natural world by demonstrating the power of working together for the benefit of all living things.
Twenty years ago, the Eden Project was a sterile clay pit; today it is a living landscape vibrant with life. The project exhibits biodiversity from all around the world, from local Cornish flower varieties, to exotic plants found only in the far reaches of the Amazon Rainforest.
Two domes or "biomes" house the thousands of plant species from around the world, educating visitors on their importance, and how these plant varieties work to support their native ecosystems.
What Is Biodiversity?
Biodiversity is the term used to define the variety of life on Earth. The greater the biodiversity, the more secure life on earth is. Everything from the plants and animals that live here, to the habitats and climates in which they live contribute to the biodiverse and rich planet we live on.
In our constantly growing and changing world, however, there are a number of factors contributing to severe biodiversity loss, and an even greater number of effects spiralling from this. They include:
Threats of Extinction
Did you know there are 8 million total animal and plant species on Earth, and that about one million of them face the threat of extinction? This isn’t due to natural causes. Man-made pollution, greed, deforestation, overconsumption, poaching, and invasive lifestyles are all contributing factors that have created a domino-effect of soon-to-be irreversible changes.
Human activity has altered almost 75% of the earth’s surface, squeezing plant and animal life into an ever smaller corner of the earth. Humanity must help stop the pace of wildlife extinctions through understanding why biodiversity should be conserved and acting upon this — or else face extinction itself, according to a growing body of research.
Biodiversity for Survival
A key aspect of biodiversity that mankind often forgets is its need for biodiversity in order to survive.
We need biodiversity for food, medicine, habitat preservation and protection, and just to exist on earth! The raising of livestock, for example, takes up nearly 80% of global agricultural land, yet produces less than 20% of the world’s supply of calories. This means that what we eat is more important than how much we eat in determining the amount of land required to produce our food.
Although tens of thousands of plant species can be grown for food, did you know just 12 crops supply 80% of the world’s food supply? These include rice, wheat, soy, corn and palm oil. Today, palm oil is used in everything, from food products and cosmetics to cleaning detergents. This growing global demand means that there is more pressure on farmers to clear native rainforests in the area, affecting both the native wildlife and local people through biodiversity decline.
Biodiversity is an essential part of the solution to climate change. Some ecosystems, like mangroves, not only house wildlife and prevent coastal erosion, but are also fantastic carbon sinks.
A carbon sink is an area that absorbs and stores carbon from the atmosphere. Nature alone can aid in reducing 30% of the carbon emissions needed to be eliminated by 2030 to prevent a climate catastrophe and biodiversity decline.
How YOU Can Help
Each of us has the ability to make a huge difference in our everyday lives. Even if it’s just small changes, millions of people making small changes eventually creates big change!
Whether your activism comes in the form of always properly disposing of your waste so it doesn’t disturb natural habitats, or writing your local government to prevent a natural area from being developed, each effort we make for our planet today helps create another opportunity for our planet to go on tomorrow.
Bee Conscious Of The Bees
Another fantastic way to protect biodiversity is by making a conscious effort to protect the species that live around us, and more specifically, protecting one of our most important pollinators, bees!
Bees pollinate nearly 90% of plant species and they are essential to ensuring the consistent supply of more than 35% of the world’s food.
Some of the best ways to protect and conserve biodiversity is to start in your home and local community. Here are just a few top tips for biodiversity protection at home:
Plant local flowers, fruits, and vegetables.
Enquire about your neighbourhood or city’s recycling and waste management programs if you’re not sure. If you’re in the UK, this is a great website where you can learn where and how to recycle just about anything!
Stop buying single-use plastic where you can help it.
Seek out environmentally friendly and green cleaning products to prevent toxic chemicals from entering local waterways. White vinegar and baking soda work wonders in cleaning just about anything, without the harsh chemicals!
And finally, remember to continue to educate yourself and those around you. If you’re reading this blog, you have access to the Internet and the time to discover more and more about what ways you can help in conserving our world's biodiversity. By searching for information about the issues facing our natural world, and keeping up-to-date with new ways to improve, you can be part of the change to keep biodiversity thriving.