by Juana Guzmán (11th)
Did you know that there are 1,000,000 species threatened with extinction on our planet today? About 1,000,000 species of both plants and animals could become extinct in a matter of decades; the worst part is that most of us didn’t even care enough to know this. Our world is experiencing an exponential decline in biodiversity, to the extent that by the year 2050, animals like the sumptuous tiger or the adorable panda will only exist in biology textbooks.
The decline of biodiversity and the extinction of species is something that concerns everybody living on planet Earth. If biodiversity and species die, so do we. Our planet is essentially made up of ecosystems, species, and genetic variation. Without these three vital elements, there would be no biodiversity or no life on Earth, for that matter. Before the industrial revolution, we lived in a somewhat harmonious relationship with our environment. However, ever since the industrial revolution, biodiversity has been in constant decline and it hasn’t stopped since. As humans, we tend to want it all and rarely know when it’s enough. Over the years, more land has been used for farming or development, and less land is being preserved for the sustaining of biodiversity. This is crucial for us because the way our planet was created, everything works in perfect equilibrium. One animal can’t live without the other because they are codependent on each other. When one of the two species becomes extinct, an irregularity is created in that ecosystem. Take bees for example. Bees seem insignificant and sometimes even pestering, but without them, we wouldn’t be able to live. If a tiny organism like the bee becomes extinct, so do we. Bees are responsible for pollinating 75% of the food we eat worldwide, but they are lamentably becoming extinct. There are countless animal and plant species just as valuable as bees, becoming extinct right before our eyes; it is time to change that.
The only way to fix it—or at least attempt to revert such a significant problem—is by changing one person at a time. If our whole school committed to doing something every day, or even just every week to help save our biodiversity from extinction, we would make a huge difference. Choose products that are produced locally or organically; that way you are not only supporting local produce, but you are also supporting the environment. You can also try to employ a plant-based diet at least once a week because the massive production of livestock is one of the leading causes of deforestation and habitat loss. If a plant-based diet doesn’t sound appealing to you, you can try to compost your organic waste instead of throwing it away. This way, you can produce less trash and create a cleaner environment. It doesn’t matter what you choose to do, so long as you do something. We have spent enough time pushing this critical issue aside. It is time we take the matter into our own hands and become the change we wish to see. Because if we don’t love our planet and our biodiversity, we’ll lose it.