Biodiversity can Stop Climate Change

Over the past few weeks we have been exploring biodiversity. If this is your first time hearing this word, I encourage you to check out the first video in this series in which we explored what biodiversity is, the threats to biodiversity loss, and protecting biodiversity. Last week we dove deep into how we as humans are a direct threat to biodiversity but it’s not too late and how we can solve biodiversity loss. This all leads up to today: how biodiversity might be one of the keys to solving the climate crisis. Let’s just jump right in and start unpacking.



We saw early this year when the world stopped when we let the world heal that plants and animals will return...but that didn’t last long and we jumped right back into action with crazy amounts of take out and flying and so forth. That, plus the other topics we have talked about in this series, inspired me to learn more about how saving biodiversity and letting the earth rest can actually stop climate change. If you’re interested, keep on reading!



Before we jump in, if you need some clarification on some terms, be sure to check out my first video in this series to learn more about the basics of biodiversity and check out this video here to learn about the basics of climate change and global warming and what the difference is. As we all probably know by now, The burning of fossil fuels has been identified by scientists as the main cause of climate change. This paired with deforestation and increased human activity led to a steady increase in CO2 in the air starting with the industrial revolution and continuing to this day. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change expects that if no actions were to be made, then within the next 80 years, the global temperature average will increase by 1.4C to 5.8C, 5.8C leading to catastrophic events. So, scientists have agreed upon the common number you have probably heard 2C that we need to keep the temperature below. Unfortunately, we could stop all carbon emissions right this second and we would still see huge changes into the future.



The link between biodiversity and climate change


As we learned in the second video in this series, there are several threats to biodiversity including habitat loss, deforestation, and so forth, but these threats lead to and will be magnified by the effects of climate change and they are all linked. The good news is, is that saving biodiversity might just save all of these other issues because of their link.


Scientists have discovered that climate change as a major contributor to future biodiversity loss to include affecting clean water, energy, and food. But, biodiversity can slow climate change and help humans and animals cope with the effects of a warming planet, here’s how:



How biodiversity can stop climate change


Ecosystems and their biodiversity are crucial when it comes to dealing with climate change. The healthier the ecosystem and the more diverse the biodiversity, the more resilient the environment in that area is to the effects of climate change. They are great deterrents against extreme weather events like flooding, droughts, heavy winds, and other things like water purification, food, purification of the air, and so forth.


Human deforestation accounts for roughly 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This is because when plants grow, they sequester carbon and store it within their roots and the soil which reduces CO2 in the air. So, by destroying ecosystems, we are releasing more greenhouse gases into the air which reduces the plants ability to respond to future stresses in the future. Undisturbed ecosystems and cities that maintain and restore local biodiversity are helping to contribute to mitigating the effects of climate change. And it’s not just trees, grasslands and wetlands are great at sequestering carbon as well and all biodiversity should be protected.



Another way that biodiversity can help solve climate change is reducing energy consumption. For example, by using green roofs as a means to insulate the buildings beneath them, the buildings will not need to use as much heating and cooling. Plus, they help absorb rainfall and reduce runoff and help reduce flooding risks in cities and provide valuable habitats for insects and birds.


The healthier the ecosystem, the better the biodiversity. The more species that live in an area in an ecosystem, the more chances they have to survive and ensure that ecosystem is properly functioning and is maintained. A healthy forest will absorb more torrential rain and water flow to reduce the risk of floods, mud slides, and erosion. Natural river banks compared to concrete walls absorb more water and the natural vegetation slows down the river also reducing the risk of floods. Healthy wetlands act as a sponge, slow down the release of water that occurs after a heavy rain, and also provide flood relief as well as erosion and prevent floods. Mangroves are a very important plant on the coasts that help in extreme high-water events like hurricanes, floods, typhoons, and such.


Not to mention, protecting all these ecosystems means more carbon will be sequestered and are excellent storehouses for carbon. So, protecting forests and other similar biomes helps the biodiversity while also helping slow climate change. If you’d like to read more about this Global Deal for Nature proposal, it is linked here.



Another emphasis on protecting biodiversity


Local and national governments are key in protecting environments, ecosystems, and in turn, biodiversity, by maintaining and restoring areas and designating protected areas. Plus, governments have easier means to raise awareness about issues and educate citizens about the importance of protecting them.


Planting native species is key to helping restore biodiversity because they will help bring back local wildlife and help build the local environment as opposed to non-native species. Another great thing is to highlight the key link between biodiversity and climate change. Everyone is talking about climate change so doing this will bring important awareness to our disappearing biodiversity. Climate change is important, but we need to keep our sites focused on all environmental issues because they all go hand in hand.


Encourage your local governments to get involved with saving your local biodiversity. If you see biodiversity loss, start by planting native species. Encourage others to reduce their carbon emissions to help reduce climate change. It might seem small, but our small changes add up especially when multiplied. Turn your yard into a native species habitat instead of grass!



Thank you so much for reading along. I hope this was an inspiring and encouraging end to this series. We still have hope for a greener future and can save species and environments while also slowing climate change, how amazing?! I really appreciate your time. If you found any value in this series, I hope you share it with others so get the word out and encourage more people to make changes and help get changes made.


As always, remember that the small changes you make have a big impact in the long run :)


Emma



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Emma

Dendler

Hey there! Thanks for stopping by! 

My name is Emma. I am a 20-year-old new to this sustainable lifestyle. I am here to give you my tips as I learn them and help beginners begin their sustainable life...

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