March 16, 2020

Preserving Biodiversity

Wasatch Environmental Update for March 15, 2020

By John Worlock

Preserving Biodiversity -  “30% by 2030”

What’s going on with our precious planet home, the Earth? 

Sit down, and let’s talk.

You are aware of the existential threat of a changing climate, driven by the warming and acidifying effects of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  You are acutely aware of the recent outbreak of the new coronavirus, called COVID-19.  It’s dangerous and scary, but it probably doesn’t rise to the level of existential threat.

But there is another threat, to the Earth’s biodiversity: a million species are under threat of extinction.  That number, a million, doesn’t impress us immediately, but we are encouraged to respect it when we learn that we are facing something akin to the Earth’s previous eras of species extinction.

OK, we can celebrate the extinction of the dinosaurs and their cohabitants, as that allowed the rise of the mammals, and eventually to humans, to us!  Now there’s something to celebrate!

Today many of the species under current threat are the little wiggly and invisible guys who do the work of replenishing the earth (that’s a small-e earth), as well as the important insects that pollinate the plants that turn carbon dioxide into oxygen while building roots and leaves to feed the herbivorous animals.  So, without our friendly worms and insects and spiders and so on, the whole web of life, so lovingly constructed over the millennia of evolution, can come crashing to a halt, and it’s bye-bye humans. 

Don’t despair, however, for with a little bit of luck, the surviving species will start again the processes of reproduction and evolution.

Fortunately for us and our offspring, there are those who would like to halt this race to oblivion.  For example, a new collaboration has arisen, led by National Geographic and the Wyss Campaign for Nature.  They call it the Campaign for Nature.  They call on world leaders to commit to the protection of 30% of the planet by 2030, along with proper management of the protected areas and finally, integration and respect for the lives of the indigenous people who coexist in harmony with so many of the threatened species.

Time’s up!  Time for you to put this website in your browser.  It’s campaignfornature dot org.

Hey!  There’s still hope!  30% by 2030.