Why Do We Need A Healthy Planet?
Biodiversity is the amazing diversity of life on Earth. It encloses all levels of interactions between living beings on our planet, from genes to individuals, from species to populations, from every single brand of grass to complex ecosystems.
We commonly call it Nature, all of this variety, this richness, and these dynamics between each links, from the smallest to the largest. We owe to this biodiversity the health of the biosphere, and the living conditions that we know on Earth.Humanity depends on the services that biodiversity provides, from our food or fibers production, to the composition of our atmosphere, or the availability of drinking water.
However, the findings of The WWF Living Planet Report 2020 are dramatic.
Biodiversity is being lost at an alarming rate. The population sizes of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles have seen an alarming average drop of 68% since 1970. The impacts of this loss on our well-being are mounting. And catastrophic impacts for people and planet loom closer than ever.
Time is running out. We must take action now if we want to see nature recover.
Why do we need biodiversity?
Global loss of biodiversity is threatening the security of the world’s food supplies and the livelihoods of millions of people, according to a new report by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Land-use changes, pollution, overexploitation of resources, and climate change were listed as the biggest drivers of this biodiversity loss.
“Biodiversity is critical for safeguarding global food security, underpinning healthy and nutritious diets, improving rural livelihoods, and enhancing the resilience of people and communities,” FAO’s Director-General José Graziano da Silva said in a statement. “Less biodiversity means that plants and animals are more vulnerable to pests and diseases. Compounded by our reliance on fewer and fewer species to feed ourselves, the increasing loss of biodiversity for food and agriculture puts food security and nutrition at risk.”
The report examined biodiversity loss in 91 countries, including the plants, animals, and microorganisms that provide critical ecosystem services, such as keeping soils fertile, pollinating crops, cleaning water, and fighting pests and diseases. The study found that while more than 6,000 plant species have been cultivated for food, just 9 account for 66 percent of total crop production, indicating widespread monoculture on farmers’ fields. The FAO tallied 7,745 local breeds of livestock, 26 percent of which are at risk of extinction and 67 percent whose risk status is unknown. An estimated 24 percent of wild food species are decreasing in abundance, while the status of another 61 percent are not reported or known.
The report notes that while local, national, and international policy measures to protect biodiversity are increasing, this shift is not happening fast enough to counter the rapid rate of species loss.
“The foundations of our food systems are being undermined… because of the impact of management practices and land-use changes associated with food and agriculture,” Graziano da Silva wrote in the introduction to the report.
Because all life form depends on water, the hydrological cycle determines how the environment works; in other words, water makes life possible.
Vegetation and soils which are an integral part of the environment determine the movement of water. A good understanding of the role of the environment and therefore of biodiversity in the hydrological cycle allows better decisions to be made when the development of water policies and practices.
Every glass of water we drink is, at least in part, already passed by fish, trees, bacteria, soil and many other organisms, including humans. Passing through these ecosystems, water is purified and made suitable for consumption human. With few exceptions, the natural environment in its initial state provides, in streams, lakes or springs, water which can be consumed without risk. This source of water is a “service” (which benefits human beings) rendered by the environment. Biodiversity is what enables nature to provide this service thanks to the permanent recycling of water through the hydrological cycle.
Humans alter almost every aspect of the hydrological cycle and of the ecosystem of which it is part by taking water for different uses, using it excessively and degrading the environment that provides it. In fact, the loss rate of the biodiversity of freshwater ecosystems is the highest of all biomes. Limited access to drinking water is, in most cases, directly attributable to human behavior, according to the Convention on Biological Diversity