Why everyone needs to care about Biodiversity

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Even if you personally are one of those people that don’t really like “nature” and much prefer the comfort of walking on concrete, you should care about our current trend of losing biodiversity. The main causes of biodiversity loss are habitat loss and climate change (a.k.a. the climate if changing faster than animals can adapt). Many scientists are calling this the 6th great extinction, on par with the Permian-Triassic mass extinction that killed the majority of life on earth. I have found that some people are quite surprised to discover that environmental concerns such as biodiversity loss will effect more than just those hippy-dippy-tree-huggers.

Beyond the obvious loss of the aesthetics of nature, biodiversity loss usually signals environmental degradation. All living things (including people) rely on the ecosystem services provided to us by healthy and robust environments. These services include cleaning air, cleaning water, preventing erosion, and sequestering carbon. On top of all that we rely on the natural world to provide us new medications, the plants that we grow as crops, the animals that we grow as food, the materials we make into clothes, and a multitude of industrial products such as timber and oils.

The loss of biodiversity means less species and a less healthy environment. When the environment is not healthy it cannot efficiently provide those services and products that we rely on to feed, clothe and shelter ourselves. The more services that the environment can no longer provide us, the more money, time, and resources we have to spend on making up the difference. So, if you care about eating, not being naked, the economy,  medical cures, breathing, drinking, or having a home, then you should care about biodiversity. That is why conserving natural habitats and sustainably using our natural resources is so important and why everyone should care about the “hippy stuff”.

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