What is biodiversity?
Did you know that on Earth, there are tens of millions of species of organisms? To date, researchers have identified just two million… All of these species co-exist in environments that are sometimes diametrically different: water, air and earth. In all their shapes and sizes, the organisms that are part of these millions of species populate every corner of the Earth. Our planet is brimming with life!
Definition of biodiversity
When we look at an official definition of biodiversity, we learn that:
“Biological diversity” means the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.1
Biodiversity in your garden
Think about some of the forms of life with which you are already familiar and the living environments in which they evolve: your garden, with its two maple trees, rose bush and birds; ant colonies moving up and down the tree trunks and butterflies fluttering around; mushrooms growing in damp corners and squirrels scampering through the branches…
It goes even further than that! From the bottom of the oceans to the highest point of the atmosphere, our planet is populated by an impressive diversity of living organisms. And we humans are just ONE species among millions.
Where do you live?
You live in a house or apartment. Some fish live in coral reefs. Cacti live in the desert. Beautiful water lilies live in the swamp. These are all habitats that are home to living beings.
Each day, you go about your business: You go to school or work, you go to the store to buy groceries and you go skating with your friends or for a stroll with your sweetheart in the park at the end of the road. All of these interactions make it possible for you to eat, have social relationships and reproduce.
The rich tapestry of life forms
It’s the same for all other plant and animal species. An infinite variety of interactions are constantly taking place between all visible and invisible forms of life. We humans are connected to this life. Together, we form an immense tapestry of interconnections that bind all living organisms to each other and to other elements.
These ties have been shaped over a period of three billion years – the moment at which life first appeared on Earth. This gigantic tapestry of plants, animals and microorganisms is ther source of absolutely everything we need to live.
However, this tapestry is presently in danger of unravelling…. Overconsumption and overexploitation of oceans, forests and land have put this valuable balance in danger. Destroying the habitats of our neighbours, plants and animals, is like destroying our own home. Polluting, invading an environment and changing the climate are like someone raiding your pantry and invading your space.
Think about what your life would be like if you no longer had a home, food or familiar surroundings. Tens of thousands of species are in this situation every day because of our indifference or ignorance, and 130 species disappear from the earth each day.
And if we took action…
There is still time to reforest, clean up pollution and reactivate life around us. We must take action now to protect our planet’s biodiversity. All of our lives depend on it.
|1||Article 2 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, adopted on May 22, 1992 and opened for signature by the States at the Rio Conference on June 5, 1992; came into force on December 29, 1993.|