What The Loss Of Biodiversity Really Means To Us

There has been a rapid loss of biodiversity due to the huge increase in populations and the ongoing consumption of natural resources to support those increased numbers of people. This has caused a vast depletion and/or loss of the goods and services on which we depend for sustenance.

There are many reasons the loss of biodiversity occurs. Some are natural, such as changes in climate. Others, such as deforestation or the contamination of lakes, are caused by humans.

The economic context of civilization, with its ill-thought-out policies, its squabbles over land, water and air rights, and the use and abuse of the resources we have is the largest culprit, although there is some degree of loss due to nature itself. Even a country like the United States has no unified policy, just a hodgepodge of Federal and local restrictions which often conflict with themselves and each other. Agencies fight literal turf wars to have their pet projects approved, and projects of other agencies defeated. The boondoggles and delays only further the loss of biodiversity, by preventing funds from being allocated and actions being taken that would combat the destruction of precious natural resources.

Greenhouse gas emissions, which are a major source of global warming are a prime cause of the loss of biodiversity. Global warming is expected to contribute to the earth eventually becoming uninhabitable by most of the species of plants and animals that now exist. Already, the polar ice caps are beginning to melt, with accompanying rises in sea levels. Concurrently, smaller inland seas, such as the Aral Sea, are evaporating due to changes in atmospheric temperature, seepage from irrigation channels, and changes in the composition of the water itself, which destroy the life they formerly supported.

Another facet of the problem is that, aside from environmental groups and the government agencies they prod into action, many people have very little awareness of the impact they make on biodiversity. Yes, recycling has been made into law in many places, but there are other actions people can choose, which they can turn into habits fairly quickly, that would go a long way to preserving resources and energy. Taking shorter showers, using a plain old fan or a ceiling fan instead of air-conditioning when possible, bringing a reusable bag to the grocery store, riding a bike instead of driving for local errands all these contribute to preserving the resources we depend on.

In the long-run, loss of biodiversity will be much more costly to both the planet and the human race than the short-term loss of profits needed to carry out measures to preserve it.