Biological diversity (biodiversity) is a term you can’t avoid when talking about climate change. Yet, most people only know the basics without understanding why it is so important to the planet.
And despite how important it is, biodiversity is at risk due to climate change and other human influences. If left unchecked, our planet won’t be able to sustain itself in the future. And the uniqueness that makes our world special will vanish.
Today, I am going to explain what biodiversity is and why it is crucial for a healthy planet and its inhabitants.
What Is Biodiversity?
By definition, biodiversity is the variety of living organisms on the planet.
To put it simply, biodiversity is everything living around us. Animals, plants, insects, fish, and everything else alive. Each organism contributes to a healthy ecosystem, with each organism having a specific role to play.
Each species offers something to the planet, and by extension, humanity. When that species is gone (extinct), we have lost something valuable.
Why Is Biodiversity Important?
Biodiversity is a key component of our everyday life, even if we don’t realize it.
Think about the last time you took a stroll down the produce section of the supermarket. You probably had over two dozen different vegetables and fruit at your fingertips.
That allows you to have a healthy and balanced diet, which helps create a healthy lifestyle.
Now imagine that same produce section with only a fraction of choices available. That’s exactly what climate change will cause.
And it’s not just produce or other types of food products. Pharmaceuticals are often based on plants and animal substances. For example, the Funnel-web spider’s venom will kill a human. However, scientists can use it to help prevent brain damage in stroke victims.
And that’s just one example. Humanity can harness the unique attributes of all living things to help our species as a whole. Thus, the more biodiverse our world is, the more options we have to treat rare diseases and solve other problems.
How Is Climate Change Threatening Biodiversity?
Climate change is raising the global temperature. Everyone knows this, and more importantly, they can feel it.
This temperature increase will have a huge impact on biodiversity because many organisms will not be able to cope in higher temperatures. One of the best examples of this is fish.
They are extremely sensitive to temperature increases.
If the water gets too hot, they leave for more suitable water. If they remain in water that is too hot, it reduces their reproduction rate and their overall size. In other words, it sets that species on track for extinction.
However, some species can cope with the higher temperatures, but the environments they rely on can’t.
When it comes to our food sources, some crops will not be able to survive higher temperatures. Or dramatically change the regions that can support them. Overall, this will reduce the types of food we have to eat. Thus hurting our diets.
Without biodiversity, we don’t have a planet.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.