The degradation of ecosystems and loss of biodiversity is increasing at an alarming rate every year. Humans are certainly not the only reason for this, but they are the main contributors. The well-being of ecosystems affects our everyday lives - consumption and consumerism depend on natural resources. Everything humans use is derived from them, in seemingly indirect and direct ways. Yet despite the fact that humans are destroying the environment, many continue to and neglect to take important measures to protect it.
Biodiversity is affected by five main pressures: habitat loss and degradation, climate change, excessive nutrient load and pollution, over-exploitation, and invasive alien species. As mentioned before, humans are not the only force that influences the environment. Natural events such as volcanic eruptions can potentially disrupt an ecosystem’s balance as well. However, at least three out of five of the principle pressures are caused by humans, although it is arguable that we do play a crucial role in speeding climate change and transporting invasive species. Ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss is almost like the result of the other issues.
The impacts of this issue are important in many ways. Up to forty percent of the world’s economy depends on natural resources, and perpetually using these resources inevitably means that they will run out. The economy would suffer greatly. It wouldn’t be accustomed to using other sources of energy after depending on non-renewable resources for so long. Without biodiversity, large amounts of money have to be spent to provide services that were otherwise given to us free by nature. For example, oceans recycle sewage into nutrients, remove toxins from the water, provide food, and turn carbon dioxide into food and oxygen. Natural limits also restrict how quickly biodiversity recovers. It could take up to millions of years, with ten million years as the average after global extinctions, which may be even longer than the entire lifespan of the human species. Loss of biodiversity means less variety of crops, and large-scale agricultural problems may threaten the food supply of hundreds of millions. Additionally, limited resources could lead countries to fight each other for rights to those resources. This could stir up unrest in the people, and may even cause them to move to nearby countries. The richer biodiversity is, the better the opportunity for medical discoveries, economic development, and the ability to cope with challenges like climate change.
Many areas are affected by ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss. International fishing in Somalia deprives poor fishermen of their income, and some become pirates out of desperation. The San Juan River is used as a communication route and for fishing, but commercial species are being over-exploited, disrupting the ecosystem’s balance. The river is also being polluted by pesticides and fertilizers. In Madagascar,...