08 Apr Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss
Plus 10 Tips on What You Can Do to Help
Climate change is now a threat — not only to the environment but also to humanity’s survival. This statement from Harvard’s Centre for Health and the Global Environment is more than enough to show us the severity of this problem:
“Climate change alone is expected to threaten with extinction approximately one quarter or more of all species on land by the year 2050, surpassing even habitat loss as the biggest threat to life on land.”
As global temperatures continue to rise, both the range and number of species in the planet are expected to decline drastically. And this loss of biodiversity could have countless negative consequences on the future of humanity as well as of various ecosystems.
How Climate Change is Affecting Land Biodiversity
Climate change is now taking its toll in our planet’s polar regions. Melting icepacks have reduced the habitats of Arctic creatures like puffins, penguins and polar bears. Rise in sea level is also inevitable as the ice caps melt — destroying coastal areas and threatening the ecosystems thriving along the coast. Changing temperatures can also cause drastic seasonal changes, affecting the mating cycles of various migratory animals across the planet.
How Climate Change is Affecting Ocean Biodiversity
Rising sea levels will also affect ocean ecosystems. For instance, changes to sea temperature will have a strong impact on zooplanktons — one of the most important parts of the ocean food chain. Shifts in plankton population and where they are found could upset the balance of the food chain, affecting various animals especially whales which rely on mass amounts of planktons in order to survive.
Rising sea temperatures can also cause coral bleaching, leading to coral death. Without corals, various marine organisms will suffer due to the loss of their natural habitat. In addition, increased levels of carbon dioxide in the oceans could lead to acidifications, affecting plants and marine animals that are sensitive to pH changes.
10 Things You Can do to Preserve Biodiversity
Do you know that you can help preserve biodiversity by making small changes in your habit? Here are ten things you can do today.
1. Reduce the use of fertilizers and pesticides in lawn care – runoffs can contaminate lakes and streams, adversely affecting the local biodiversity in those areas.
2. Get involved – most areas have groups that are active in their advocacy to restore the environment. Join them.
3. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – less demand means less less habitat conversion will be necessary to get the resources and energy needed to make new products. It means less wastes going to landfills too!
4. Compost – composting does not only lessen the demand for landfill space, it also provides organic fertilizer for your garden!
5. Use environment-friendly chemicals when cleaning – reducing the chemical contamination of habitats can go a long way in helping restore the biodiversity of the environment.
6. Buy organic foods – buying organic foods encourages farmers to not use fertilizers and pesticides which could runoff and contaminate bodies of water.
7. Buy sustainably harvested seafood – Many seafood are not harvested sustainably, either for the individual species itself or for those species that are unlucky enough to be ensnared as “by catch”.
8. Conserve energy at home – less energy consumption means less damage in the environment associated with energy production and construction of power plants.
9. Reduce car use – do you know that each litre of fuel burned releases up to 10 kilos worth of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases? Car pooling, public transport, biking and walking are great alternatives. If you really need to drive, go for fuel efficient vehicles or hybrids.
10. Use renewable energy strategies in your home – a good example here is using solar panels. Or if you’re planning to build a new house, consider “green landscaping” or building designs and materials that help conserve energy.