This year’s theme for World Environment Day is biodiversity, with a focus on developing infrastructure that supports life on Earth. To celebrate this day with you, we wanted to review what biodiversity means, what state it is in, and share some ways that you can support it in your daily life.
What is Biodiversity?
According to the UN Environmental Programme, the organizers behind World Environment Day, biodiversity is the “variability of living things that makes up life on Earth. It encompasses the 8 million or so species on the planet – from plants and animals to fungi and bacteria – the ecosystems that house them – such as oceans, forests, mountain environments and coral reefs – as well as the genetic diversity found among them”.
These creatures and areas provide many benefits to people known as “ecosystem services”. For example, 75% of main food crops globally rely on pollination from animals and insects for growth and quality. If these services were added up and converted to a monetary value, they would be worth an estimate of $120-140 trillion per year!
How is Biodiversity doing?
Sadly, Biodiversity is calling out for help and for healing. This is because there are several factors driving biodiversity loss. Some of the major factors are land-use change and an over-exploitation of plants and animals for food and resources, climate change, pollution which contaminates habitats, and the introduction of non-native species to new environments causing new diseases and competition.
What many of these factors have in common, is that they are caused by human activity. This means how we shop, what we eat, and how we move around of world all have varying levels of impact on our planet.
Fortunately, we still have time to act in order to slow climate change trajectories and reverse the trends of biodiversity loss, but we need to act now.
How can you help biodiversity?
1. Eat less meat: animal agriculture demands a lot of resources in comparison to vegetarian or vegan diets. See our blog for plant-based recipe inspiration!
2. Source meat from grass-fed producers: If you’re going to eat meat, choose from local farmers that allow their livestock to range freely. See some of Spud.ca’s amazing local producers here!
3. Slow consumption: Buy less stuff and get creative with re-purposing what you already have. Considering joining a ‘Buy Nothing’ Facebook group in your area or start your own!
4. Support poverty-alleviation efforts: Invest in companies and organizations that work towards sustainable development. Equality and environmental sustainability go hand-in-hand.
5. Share your voice: Tell local and federal leadership that biodiversity matters to you!
6. Explore new ways to travel: Avoid your car this summer. Try getting from point A to B via a bike, walking, or any other forms of emissions-free travel