THE CONNECTION BETWEEN BIODIVERSITY, ECONOMICS AND ENVIRONMENTAL WORLDVIEW
BIODIVERSITY: The variety of Earth’s species, or varying life forms; the genes they contain; the ecosystems they live in; and the ecosystem processes of energy flow and nutrient cycling that sustain all life.
FOUR COMPONENTS OF BIODIVERSITY: Species, functional, genetic and ecological diversity.
BIOLOGICAL EVOLUTION BY NATURAL SELECTION EXPLAINS HOW LIFE CHANGES OVER TIME: Populations evolve when genes mutate and give some individuals genetic traits that enhance their abilities to survive and to produce offspring with these traits.
MILLIONS OF SPECIES ON EARTH ARE HERE: The reason is because of biological evolution….the process whereby earth’s life changes over time through changes in the genetic characteristics of populations.
EARTH IS JUST RIGHT FOR LIFE TO SURVIVE: 1 – Most life requires average temperatures between freezing and boiling points of water. 2 – Size of the earth provides a gravitational mass to keep the atmosphere from flying off into space. 3 – Earth has the right amount of O2 to support life; too much or too little O2 can be lethal to life. 3 – Plants and some oxygen producing bacteria provide us with the necessary O2 and some O2 is converted into ozone to protect us from solar radiation.
EXAMPLES OF BIOLOGICAL AND ECONOMIC BENEFTS OF BIODIVERSITY
Natural water purification
Reduced storm damage because of mangroves, coastal wetlands, coral reefs, etc.
Raw materials for industry
Recreation and Tourism
Reduction of disease causing microbes
Recharging of groundwater
Habitat for species
Drinking and irrigation water
Etc. etc. etc…….
LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY AND SPECIES EXTINCTION
Examples of Natural Causes: 1 – Changes in climate. 2 – Changes in sea levels and currents. 3 – Meteorites. 4 – Volcanic activity. 5 – Diseases. 6 – Invasive species
FIVE PERIODS OF MASS EXTINCTION IN GEOLOGIC HISTORY (Non-human related over last 500 million years)
Examples of Human Centered Causes (HIPPCO acronym)
C…..Climate Change (controversial)
PROTECTION OF SPECIES VIA LAWS, INTERNATIONAL TREATIES, SPECIES SANCTUARIES AND PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITIES
1975 Convention on International Trade
Convention on Biological Diversity
U.S. Endangered Species Act
Wildlife Refuges and Other Protected Areas
Seed Banks, Botanical Gardens, Wildlife Farms
Zoos and Aquariums
Personal Responsibilities (reduce energy and water needs; fewer children; educate yourself and others; recycle and reuse plastics, paper, and metals; don’t buy furs, ivory products, or other items made from endangered animal species; do not buy wood or wood products from tropical or old growth forests; don’t buy animals or plants taken from the wild; plant trees, plant flowering plants to attract pollinating insects; lower your meat consumption; buy organically produced foods; use less toxic and/or non-toxic alternatives; support environmental organizations; become politically active at the local, state and national levels; support laws and treaties that protect biodiversity; etc.).
ECONOMICS AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) verses Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
Implement full cost pricing
Reward (subsidize) environmentally sustainable economic growth
Penalize (tax and do not subsidize) environmentally harmful growth
Shift taxes from wages and profits to pollution and waste
Make products that are more durable that last longer
Do not deplete or degrade natural capital
Certify sustainable practices and products
Use eco-labels on products
Reduce resource use and waste by reducing, reusing and recycling
Improve energy efficiency
Rely more on solar, wind, hydrogen and geothermal energy
Shift from a non-renewable carbon-based fossil fuel economy to a non-carbon renewable energy economy
We are part of and entirely dependent on nature, and nature exists for all species
Resources are limited and should not be wasted
We should encourage earth-sustaining forms of economic growth and discourage earth-degrading forms
Our success depends on learning how nature sustains itself and integrating such lessons from nature into the ways we think and act