By now you have probably guessed that here, over at Shared-Earth-Trust, we really love Earth and its nature. We care about plants, trees, animals and humans equally and we strive for a world where all of these can live together in harmony. We do, however, believe it’s important to know what you’re talking about, and that’s why we dedicate this website to providing you with some of the basic information concerning global warming, nature and biodiversity.
In close relation to the global warming discussion comes biodiversity. The term (which is short for biological diversity) is used to describe all living things on our planet. We’re not just talking about endangered species like giant-panda’s or tigers; we’re talking about everything, from humans to micro-organisms.
“It is reckless to suppose that biodiversity can be diminished indefinitely without threatening humanity itself.” – Edward O. Wilson — known as the ‘father of biodiversity’
Biodiversity is the astonishing richness of diversity wildlife and habitants on earth. Everything ranging from mountain tops to the ocean floors and from snow-fields to rainforests. Even in modern-day UK you can find an extraordinary collection of biodiversity. The busiest city-park is home to many small animals, but the quietest rocky cove also households a tremendous amount of individual species, each one adapted to for its own environmental needs.
Why should we protect biodiversity?
According to environmental economist Pavan Sukhdev the costs for the entire world of not preserving ecosystems and biodiversity could lay somewhere in between £1.2 and £2.8 trillion every years. The fact that nature seems to provide us with resources for free does not mean we should take it for granted and use it (maybe even abuse) in absurd quantities.
Biodiversity is essential for all living things on the planet because it provides us with the very basic natural services we need in order to stay alive. About 80% of our food supply comes from just 20 different kinds of plants. The same goes for meat consumption, only a few species are actually used to feed the majority of the earth’s inhabitants. In this area there is an enormous potential for increasing the range of food products suitable for human consumption.
Next to food, biodiversity provides us with things like medicines and industrial materials. A huge proportion of modern drugs are derived from biological resources, but only a small amount of the total diversity of plants has been studied for potential drug use. Concerning building materials, many of them are derived directly from biological resources. They include dyes, gums, rubber, oil and fibers for clothing.
Needless to say that we should work hard on providing protection and preserving the biodiversity on both a global and local scale. Back in 1992 the UK signed the International Convention on Biological Diversity, and signaled to conserve and sustain the use of biological diversity for future generations.
For more information on the importance of biodiversity for nature we recommend you to read The importance of biodiversity to human health.