By: Ella Kang
Although the world’s 7.6 billion people only account for 0.01% of all living things on the Earth, humanity has caused the enormous loss of diversity. Despite being such a small part of the planet, human pressure on nature has existed since forever and it is steadily destroying every form of life on the Earth. The animals and plants that remain, as well as the human quality of life will be severely reduced and threatened if no further actions are taken.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), biodiversity is defined by “all life on Earth, and refers to biological variety in all its forms, from the genetic makeup of plants and animals to cultural diversity”. Oftentimes many individuals do not think about the damage they are causing on biodiversity. Nonetheless, it is extremely crucial for humans to consider the impact they have because the importance of biodiversity is huge for humanity; people are dependent on it in their daily lives, in ways that are not always apparent or appreciated. Moreover, biodiversity loss can impact basic social needs such as human health, income, and local migration. The microorganisms, as well as flora and fauna provide more benefits than we actually realize and significant progresses in biological, health, and pharmacological sciences have been made. There would be no human existence without biodiversity.
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America demonstrated that approximately 83% of all wild mammals, 50% of all plants, and a million species are at risk of extinction all mainly because of human activities. Directly or indirectly, deforestation, overexploitation, overconsumption, climate change, pollution, and social values all impact nature and lead to the loss of diversity. There are just so many causes that induce the destruction and we need a serious, complex approach to combating this.
Human population growth is exponential, meaning that the growth rate remains the same no matter the population size. Population only grows faster and faster while getting larger. Therefore, humans will keep using scarce resources on the globe and the degradation of biodiversity will continue to get worse. In order for the Earth to sustain life and for humanity to thrive, each individual must realize what kinds of impacts their actions have and what it means to maintain the valuable biodiversity that is left on the planet. Proper education and policies will preserve biodiversity and protect all sentient lives. The world must also come together, and wealthier countries must no longer consider their own interests over the climate and environment. Values and goals need to be changed across international, national, and local levels and the underlying causes should be tackled no matter what. New and different ways of thinking / strategies for the problem are necessary. As indicated by The Guardian, “a shift in incentives, investments in green infrastructure, accounting for nature deterioration in international trade, addressing population growth and unequal levels of consumption, greater cooperation across sectors, new environmental laws, and stronger enforcement” are just a few examples of what we should start working on.
In all, human activities are impacting lives on the Earth and there will be no end to the damage if the lack of consideration for those lives continues. Biodiversity is important. All the species on Earth- microorganisms, animals, plants, and humans deserve to be healthy, balanced, and thriving. We can change starting now- let’s save those lives.