evidence so far

Posted on: February 6, 2020 at 9:05 am
Last updated: May 26, 2020 at 10:21 pm

Biodiversity refers to the variety of life at all levels on Earth, from genes to ecosystems. It includes every living thing, from humans right down to microbes, fungi, and invertebrates. It is essential to the continuation of life on Earth and provides value to humans as a source of food, fuel, and medicine. Crucial activities, such as pollination, seed dispersal, climate regulation, water purification, nutrient cycling, and control of agricultural pests are also provided by the Earth’s ecosystems [1].

The Biomass of Humans

This statistic is shocking because humanity’s catastrophic impact is in great disproportion to the tiny percentage of life on earth the humans actually make up. The study, which is the first of its kind to create a comprehensive estimate of the weight of every class of living creature on the planet, determined that the world’s human population of 7.6 billion people represent only 0.01 percent of all living things [2,3].

Bacteria, on the other hand, make up thirteen percent, while plants account for a total of 83 percent of all life on earth.

“I would hope this gives people a perspective on the very dominant role that humanity now plays on Earth,” said Professor Ron Milo, at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, who led the work [3].

Humans Deciding Who Stays and Who Goes

The Impact of Agriculture on Biodiversity

Agriculture is the largest contributor to biodiversity loss because of growing global populations and changing consumption patterns. It converts natural habitats into tightly monitored monoculture systems and releases pollutants and greenhouse gasses into the ecosystem [5].

Much of the effort that has gone into reducing the food system’s toll on biodiversity has focused on intensifying agriculture in order to free up land for protection, however recent research has suggested that a more effective approach is to focus on biodiversity-friendly farming over a larger area [5].

What Can Be Done?

For starters, the authors explain, band-aid solutions like creating wildlife preserves, enacting tougher environmental regulations, and restoring ecosystems need to implement. These, however, are not lasting solutions.

Since, according to the authors, the primary driver of this disintegration of life is human overpopulation and consumption, these are the key areas that need to be changed. Human consumption needs to decrease to more manageable levels, and eventually, we must reach a peak in human population [9].

Milo has made changes to his consumption patterns because of the effects of agriculture on the environment.

“I would hope people would take this [work] as part of their world view of how they consume,” he said. ”I have not become vegetarian, but I do take the environmental impact into my decision making, so it helps me think, do I want to choose beef or poultry or use tofu instead?” [3]

The numbers these studies have reported are staggering, but if we take global action we can still protect the biodiversity we have left.

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