The brilliant colors of coral reefs in the ocean, extensive foliage in the rain forest, animals running in open Western planes. These are the symbols of biodiversity seen all over advertisements for vacations spots labeled as “paradise.” Maintaining environmental biodiversity is clearly important to maintain the picturesque images of the earth, the ones that get turned in to posters that say “Relax” underneath the picture and fill the covers of National Geographic magazines. But, what needs to be recognized is that biodiversity is not just a luxury, it is critical to the health of the environment.
Natural biodiversity is important to the health of ecosystems throughout the world. Diversity helps ecosystems function in ways such as producing a wider variety of species, ensuring natural sustainability of species and allowing ecosystems to be more able to recover successfully after disasters. All of these functions are obviously important for the future safety of the environment, but natural biodiversity can also have an impact on the economy and directly on you.
The Convention about Life on Earth stated, “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.” Biodiversity provides services like promoting a greater variety of crops; protecting water resources and helping break down and absorb pollution. It also creates numerous resources such as food, medicinal resources, wood and plant products, breeding stocks and future resources.
People and governments need to increase their education and knowledge about what biodiversity is and why it is important. Natural diversity is crucial not just for the health and safety of the environment but also for all people and the functions of the world we have created. We should place much more emphasis on and work tirelessly to understand and protect the resources that the earth has given us.