Why biodiversity continues to matter as we approach the earths most popular day of the year
Posted onApril 20, 2023by|
Earth Day is a time for reflection and action. One of the most pressing issues facing our planet today is biodiversity loss. Biodiversity, or the variety of living organisms on Earth, is essential to the health and wellbeing of all the planet’s inhabitants. Unfortunately, human activities such as habitat destruction and fragmentation, pollution, overharvesting, and climate change are driving species to extinction at an alarming rate.
The recent United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity held in November of 2022 in Montréal stressed the urgency with biodiversity extinction being one of the leading existential crises of our time. Findings from these meetings were dire with 1 million species already facing extinction, many within decades, unless action is taken to reduce biodiversity loss.
Once species disappear, ecosystems will unravel, and the services they provide us will be irreplaceable.
The endangered swift fox had disappeared from the wild in the 1930s but reintroductions have returned it to Canada.
The Vancouver Island marmot is Canada’s most endangered endemic mammal and one of the rarest mammals in the world.
The eastern loggerhead shrike is a critically endangered songbird found only in Quebec and Ontario.
There is good news. Solutions exist and there are organizations like Wildlife Preservation Canada working tirelessly around the world to protect endangered species and their habitats. Some are iconic like the regal Bengal tiger which has recently seen an increase in numbers due to conservation efforts in India.
Here in Canada the swift fox, Vancouver Island marmot, and eastern loggerhead shrike were all doomed to disappear from our country but have been saved from that fate due to conservation efforts. Through hands-on management and restoration of wild populations and habitat protection, dedicated conservation teams are making a real difference in the fight to save endangered species from extinction.
All species are connected with a complicated ecological web, and the loss of one species can have cascading effects on entire ecosystems. We do not know where that tipping point it.
Healthy and diverse ecosystems provide innumerable and invaluable benefits to all of us, from food crop pollination to flood mitigation to the very clean air and water we rely on to survive.
We cannot continue to allow species to wink out one by one. We must take a stand to halt biodiversity loss.
Protecting endangered species is also important for our own wellbeing. An entire new scientific discipline has evolved demonstrating the health benefits that spending time in nature can have on our physical and mental health. Research has shown that just a few additional bird species at our backyard feeders can exponentially increase our emotional wellbeing.
Despite the many challenges we face in protecting endangered species, there are hundreds of success stories to celebrate. They tend to not receive the media attention that bad news stories receive. We could devote an entire website to celebrating these stories and the heroes that have saved species from extinction.
For example, the bald eagle and peregrine falcon were once on the brink of extinction in Canada, but thanks to conservation efforts their populations have rebounded to the point where they are no longer endangered. I saw both a few weeks ago here in southern Ontario during an afternoon walk with my family, something that would not have been possible if not for concentrated conservation efforts.
WPC is an organization that knows how to take action. Our team of experienced biologists are global experts on their species and know what it will take to bring them back from the brink. We have the techniques and experience. We are ready to increase our capacity to do more for species across Canada. By supporting organizations like WPC, people across Canada have shown they understand the importance of the complicated ecosystem web, and that no species in unimportant.
As we celebrate Earth Day 2023, let us reflect on the importance of protecting endangered species and take action to support the organizations and policies that are working to save them.
There is hope. By working together, we can ensure a more sustainable and just future for ourselves and all of the fascinating species that we share this planet with.
Together in conservation,
We need your help