What we've learned about Biodiversity
What is Biodiversity?
Life on Earth consists of millions of species of plants, animals, insects and micro-organisms, spread across different ecosystems—from rivers and rainforests to deserts and oceans. This vast variety of life and the habitats that support it is called biodiversity. ‘Bio’ means life, and ‘diversity’ means variety.
Why is Biodiversity vital to our future?
Our world is like a web made up of many strands, each representing the different living species within an ecosystem, all connected together. Forests are homes to animals. Animals consume plants. Bees and other insects help in plant pollination. Plants need healthy soil to grow. Soil is fertilised by fungi that decompose biological matter. Each species, no matter how small, has a role to play in the natural ecosystem and maintaining a planet with a population of more than 7 billion people. When one connection is broken, the whole web becomes more unstable and less resilient.
Biodiversity is fundamental to thriving communities and vital to the well-being of our planet. It is at the heart of Earth’s life-support systems—we all depend on them. Mother Nature’s natural ecosystems and rich biodiversity is crucial in providing us with many wonderful and invaluable things that we take for granted:
A stable supply of food
A source of oxygen
A stable climate
Less natural disasters
Why is Biodiversity under threat?
Over the past 40 years, populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians have, on average, declined in size by 60 percent in just over 40 years, and is expected to drop even further*. Unfortunately, the main reason for this tragic loss of biodiversity is us—the human race. We have cut down forests, released greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and filled our rivers and oceans with plastic and harmful chemicals. Irresponsible consumption of resources and unsustainable developments have also destroyed the natural habitats of countless species and consequently accelerated the rate of global warming and worsened the impact of natural disasters. However, while humans may be the cause, we can also definitely be part of the solution.
*Source: WWF Report Reveals Staggering Extent of Human Impact on Planet, October 29, 2018
Explore how we are kicking off our sustainability journey with some initiatives in Asia