By Bipin Karki and Navin Pandey/Nepal
Article edited by Judy Nguta/Kenya
Graphics by John Carl T. Alonsagay/ATO-ClimatEducate Project
Biodiversity refers to different kinds of living organism (plants, animals, and other living organisms) within a particular area. Biodiversity includes everything from giant trees to tiny microscopic organisms and its distribution is non uniform.
Tropical regions with warm climate have the most biodiversity while in temperate, mountainous, and desert regions it keeps receding. Biodiversity is very important as all species are interconnected and depend on each other.
For instance, plants produce oxygen helping humans to breathe. They also provide food, shade, medicine, fiber, and construction materials. Thousands of industries rely on plants for raw materials. When the biodiversity is interrupted or destroyed, the impact could be enormous to people and the planet.
In the past several years, many species are more threatened than ever by urbanization, global deforestation, over-exploitation of marine ecosystems, industrial and agricultural expansion and other human activities.
Pollution, overhunting and overfishing have also led to a drop in biodiversity. Climate change and rise in the average temperature around the globe, linked to human activity, is also a contributing factor.
Fortunately, there are effective tools and approaches to alleviate the harm caused by change in biodiversity. These include the development and governance of sustainable harvest regimes, enforcement of hunting regulations and protected marine areas, implementation of international policies, and educating the public.
The establishment of protected areas to safeguard biodiversity can be a powerful approach. Others include management of agricultural systems that allow threatened species to persist within them, regulation of pesticide and fertilizer use, agricultural sustainability, and reduction of food waste help to reduce pressure on changing biodiversity. Ensuring that overexploitation and agricultural activities today do not compromise ecosystems tomorrow will help to alleviate the challenges presented by impending climate change.
These efforts have to be bolstered by continuous efforts to improve environmental policies at local, regional, and global level. Finally, the daily life practices of individuals and communities can have a large effect on biodiversity and the environment. It may be impossible to prevent all negative human impacts on biodiversity, but with knowledge and responsibility we can work to change the direction and shape of our effects on rest of life on earth.
Together we can.
Bipin Karki is currently the Adviser for Climate Technologies of the ATO - ClimatEducate Project. He is an energy engineer passionate about renewable energy, energy conservation, and climate change (carbon mitigation).
Navin Pandey is a member of the ATO - ClimatEducate Project. He is an undergraduate student at University of New Mexico and enthusiast in natural science.