Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Who cares about biodiversity?

According to scientific observation of geologic records, the process of  species dying out existed long before humans. Wherever there is life, it is seemingly destined to end. Does protecting biodiversity really matter?

"At least 40 per cent of the world’s economy and 80 per cent of the needs of the poor are derived from biological resources. In addition, the richer the diversity of life, the greater the opportunity for medical discoveries, economic development, and adaptive responses to such new challenges as climate change."
The Convention about Life on Earth, Convention on Biodiversity web site.
One of my interests is medicinal herbs. When you destroy biodiversity in favor of human development, you might be destroying a cure for disease. It may sound trite, but our hope may lie in distant rain forest rather than in a high tech lab. An even greater, barely tapped, area of biodiversity are the coral reefs. Pollution of coastal areas has severely threatened coral reefs to the point that in 30 years or less some coral reefs may be completely dead.

How much biodiversity is really necessary for human life? Nobody knows. Do you really want to wait to find out? Positive changes and careful protection of habitats is worth the effort, but sometimes in the hustle and bustle it seems like life is all going on indoors. It's easy to forget that the important things, those things that will hopefully continue for millions of years beyond your own life, are all going on outdoors.

If only for today:

*Be thankful for whatever living creatures share their lives with you so you can eat.
*Don't rush from your home or office to your car. Stop for a moment and notice a flower, an insect, a tree, a bird in the sky, or even the weed peeking through the crack in the sidewalk.
*When you drive your car or heat your home, consider the long extinct creatures giving their energy to you.


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