It's time to look to the future. We've got a serious problem, yeah, but it only does us so much good to focus on the negative. So, now that we have a bit of perspective, let's move past the gloom and start focusing on ways we can fix this. Because, as we know is the case with many environmental issues, there are tons of tiny things we can do to drastically improve this situation. But, before we dive into what exactly those things are, I want to talk about who's really responsible for solving this issue.
Who should solve this?
The way I see it, it can't be solved by the actions of individuals alone. We require a larger, more regulated approach, one that in my mind can only be provided by government investment. Individual action is a great start, but companies are crafty; even the most mindful of individuals can still be tricked when it comes to something as hard to keep track of as biodiversity. So, government regulation could be especially helpful when limiting these companies, specifically because they have the ability to prevent them from using certain, important pieces of land.
To their credit, many governments have already started this process. In the United States, the creation of National Parks and Marine Protected Areas have immensely helped in protecting the various kinds of species that live within them. However, there are only so many of these areas, and more are necessary if we really hope to protect the diversity here. Only the government has the power to create these areas, so if we want to protect our biodiversity, we need to make sure we have people in these positions that we can trust.
Our responsibility- making good choices
But, even if your country's government does a fantastic job protecting its biodiversity, we're not without responsibility. As consumers, it's our job to make sure we make the proper choices when it comes to issues like biodiversity, climate change, deforestation, and the like. After all, how can the U.S. government, or other governments for that matter, protect rainforests in Africa, or even Indonesia? These rainforests are our biggest allies when it comes to preserving biodiversity, and the best way to ensure their safety is by letting companies know that harming these areas isn't okay. How do we do that? By making conscious choices.
Choosing healthy products
Luckily for us, determining which products are harmful isn't too difficult. There are dozens of organizations that certify food, furniture, and any other product based on how much they affect they areas that they're sourced from. From certifications of sustainable fishing, to energy efficient products, to even responsibly built buildings, it seems there's a certification for everything. Now, I could list all of these organizations here, but from my research it seems that's been done much better than I could ever do. So, I highly, highly recommend you check out the Columbia University Earth Institute's article on what you can do to protect biodiversity. They have an incredible list of organizations that not only explains what each one does, and where their certification can be found, but what that certification looks like too. This is probably the biggest first step when it comes to protecting biodiversity.
Of course, there are other, easier ways of making good decisions too. I highly recommend the Instagram account ourgoodbrands, which provides simple, easily implemented tips about living a more sustainable lifestyle. Whether that be a water bottle made out of easily-recyclable aluminum as opposed to plastic, or sustainable makeup, they give countless good ideas. Even if a particular idea might not work well for you, the easily shareable nature of Instagram allows them to be quickly sent to a friend, where they can do even more good. It's certainly a worthy add on to your feed.
Pollinators are probably the most threatened when it comes to biodiversity loss. Their decrease in numbers as well as species means that our plants suffer too. And when our plant species suffer, so do we. So....
Reduce pesticide use- I've talked about this before, but it's certainly worth mentioning again. Pesticides are a scourge on natural pollinators, and frankly, I think they already have enough to deal with. Reducing or ending your use of pesticides in the lawn will give pollinators like butterflies and bumblebees a safe haven to live within. And, if you still want a nice looking lawn, there are plenty of natural pesticides to choose from that won't do any damage.
And, if you choose to go pesticide-free like my family, you might invite some cute rabbits and deer to live around your home too!
Making these beneficial decisions is crucial, but we need someone on the front lines too. Organizations like the Rainforest Action Network and the Rainforest Foundation are fighting to protect some of our most important hot spots for biodiversity, and they can always use more time and money from dedicated individuals. The fight won't stop until we win, and supporting organizations like these can help make that dream become a reality.
Of course, there are countless other things we can be doing to help win this fight. I wanted to provide a few of the most simple ones to get us started, but if you're looking for more, or even something different, there are countless places to look. For starters, I suggest you check out the websites listed above, as they always have some kind of protest or petition that needs support. Additionally, you can click here, here, or here to find out more about not only what biodiversity loss is, but the easy ways we can help reverse it.
Bottom line, our efforts have to start now. With hundreds of species being lost every week, there's no time to sit back and wait until others solve the problem for us. Because the truth is, no one's going to. Companies have no incentive, and as long as governments continue to accept payment from them, they won't either. The change has to start with us, has to start with this, or nothing WILL change. It doesn't matter where you start; only that you do, and do it soon. We've got a hell of a lot to lose.
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