Why is biodiversity important?

Woodlands, Natalya Critchley

Versión en español

Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth. It includes all living things, from plants and animals to bacteria and fungi. Biodiversity is important for many reasons, including:

  • Ecosystem services. Biodiversity provides a range of ecosystem services that support human well-being such as air and water purification, nutrient cycling, and soil formation.
  • Food security. Biodiversity is essential for agriculture and food production, providing the genetic diversity needed to breed crops that can adapt to changing environmental conditions. Many of the things we rely on for our survival, such as food, medicine, and building materials, come from plants and animals.
  • Medicine. Many medicines are derived from plants and animals, and the loss of biodiversity could result in the loss of potential medical treatments. Biodiversity helps to keep pests and diseases in check by providing natural predators and competitors. For example, ladybugs eat aphids, which are pests that can damage crops.
  • It helps to maintain healthy ecosystems. Biodiversity helps to keep ecosystems healthy by providing a variety of functions such as pollination, seed dispersal, and nutrient cycling. For example, bees pollinate crops that help to ensure a food supply.
  • Climate regulation. Biodiverse ecosystems can help regulate the Earth’s climate by sequestering carbon and producing oxygen.
  • Economy. About 40% of the world’s economy is related to natural resources: food, forestry, and ecotourism. Also, a considerable percentage of the food crops rely on pollination from diverse animals and insects such as bees.
  • Cultural value. Biodiversity is simply beautiful and inspiring. It is a reminder of the amazing diversity of life on Earth. It is also a source of wonder and curiosity.
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Ecosystem Restoration

Morichal, Natalya Critchley

Versión en español

Can large-scale reforestation mitigate climate change?

Planting trees is one of the most effective ways to mitigate climate change. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as part of the process of photosynthesis to produce oxygen and store carbon in their wood and roots. This helps to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which is one of the main causes of climate change. A study published in the journal Science in 2019 found that it is possible to restore 1.2 billion hectares of degraded land to forests by 2050. This would sequester an estimated 205 gigatons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which is equivalent to the emissions of 40 years of global transportation. Reforestation is not a silver bullet for climate change, but it is a powerful tool that can help us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change.

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Water Shortage Due to Climate Change

Queuing for Water, Natalya Critchley

Versión en español

Global Water Access

The current situation of water access in the world is critical. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, approximately 785 million people lack basic drinking water services, and 2.2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water. Furthermore, an estimated 4.2 billion people lack safely managed sanitation services. These statistics highlight the magnitude of the crisis and the urgent need to take action to improve access to clean water and sanitation facilities. This lack of access to clean water has several negative consequences, including:

  • Increased risk of disease: People who do not have access to clean water are more likely to get sick from diarrhea, cholera, typhoid fever, and other waterborne diseases. Diarrheal disease is responsible for the deaths of approximately 485,000 children under the age of five each year.
  • Poor health: People who do not have access to clean water often have poor health overall. They are more likely to be malnourished and underweight, and they are more likely to die from preventable diseases.
  • Economic hardship and social isolation: People who do not have access to clean water often have to spend a lot of time and money collecting water. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by the water crisis, as they are often responsible for collecting water for their families. In many cases, this involves walking long distances to collect water from unsafe sources, which can take up to six hours a day. The time and energy required to collect water often prevent women and girls from attending school or participating in income-generating activities, perpetuating the cycle of poverty.

The water crisis is a global problem but particularly acute in developing countries. In these countries, climate change, population growth, and poverty often exacerbate water scarcity. The water crisis is a major threat to sustainable development, and it is essential that we take action to address it. This lack of access to water is a significant challenge for public health, economic development, and environmental sustainability.

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