Thursday, May 26, 2005

What's the big deal about biodiversity?

When most people think of biodiversity they think of endangered species that have been ridiculed in the media for holding up development projects or blocking logging or mining ventures. If that's all biodiversity meant, then we would have little to worry about. So poorly is the concept understood in the media that we get bland, almost meaningless journalism about something that is central to our continued existence as a species. Even the experts don't seem to get it saying that we should aim at "slowing" the loss of biodiversity.

What does biodiversity do for us? It cleans the air and the water and moderates the climate. It provides myriad products for medicinal uses. It is essential for the pollination and thus proper growth of many food crops we depend on. It essential for soil fertility. The Union of Concerned Scientists has a basic primer with additional links that will give you a good start in understanding this idea.

So, next time somebody starts talking or writing about biodiversity, don't let your eyes glaze over. Think instead, "My life is on the line here and so is the life of everything else on the planet!"

(Comments are open to all. See the list of environmental blogs on my sidebar.)

No comments: