It’s a word that we have all become increasingly aware of, but what does it mean and how does it affect you and your business?
Biodiversity is the name we give to the vast arrange of all life on our planet. The range of living organisms on our planet is astonishing, from algae to elephants, palm trees to people.
All living things are part of either an ecosystem or community, put them together and you have biodiversity. The volume of life on our planet all interacts with each other and the physical world around them. It’s what makes Earth the perfect place for humans to live.
“Without biodiversity, there is no future for humanity,” Prof David Macdonald, at Oxford University.
Why do we need biodiversity?
Biodiversity is essential for us to survive. We are a small part of a vast, complex natural world, with each element supporting another and creating balance.
In simple form, we need nature, clean air and fresh water, as well as plants and animals for food, but nature isn’t enough on it’s own. But at it’s more complex, we need thriving, resilient mix of ecosystems, full of variety and diversity.
How does it affect us?
Biodiversity is key to us living happy, healthy lives. The ecosystems around us provide us with fresh water, food and oxygen for us to breathe. They also provide the much needed natural physic spaces for our wellbeing.
What are the major threats to biodiversity?
Unfortunately the worlds biodiversity is in decline, and it’s down to humans.
In the recent BBC programme ‘Extinction: The Facts‘, David Attenborough explored the damage that we’re doing to the biodiversity of planet Earth. The damage we have done to our beautiful world over the past Century is clear to see. With species now extinct and habitats changing beyond recognition due to deforestation, over consumption and pollution, all adding to the increasing problem of climate change.
Where can you see it in action?
Biodiversity is pretty amazing and you don’t need to travel to the rainforest to see it up close. It’s all around us, in every forest, farm land and riverside. They all contain different types of insects, birds and small mammals, as well as a plants and trees.
You can also create biodiversity in your own garden, allotment or balcony and let the species come to you. Choose plants that require pollination and encourage birds and wildlife into your outdoor space.
What can you do, as a business, to protect biodiversity?
Companies depend on biodiversity, although the level of dependancy depends on your sector and size of company. Protecting our local, national and international biodiversity is something that we all need to be doing.
As an industry, damage to our biodiversity could have lasting impacts on the way we do business. Changing climate forcing changes in food production, disrupted supply chains, higher insurance costs or losses due to extreme weather events… I really could go on, but the fact is that we need our natural world, it not only gives us life, but allows us to live and run the businesses we love.
We’ve put together a few ideas of things you can do help protect and promote biodiversity at work, but would love to know what you’re doing too:
- Plant up your outdoor spaces – choose plants that require pollination and encourage birds and wildlife into your outdoor space
- Use less water – biodiversity depends on the abundance of local fresh water. Turning the tap off while washing your hands is one easy way to conserve water.
- Respect local habitats – Plants growing in the parks and nature reserves (that includes many of the beautiful countryside wedding venues) play an important role in preserving the local ecosystem. Stick to the walking path or trail
- Know the source – Check the products you buy and the companies you support to ensure that your buying habits are not contributing to destruction of habitat elsewhere. Look for labels such as FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or Rainforest Alliance Certified. Both organisations are committed not only to the conservation of the Earth’s resources, but also to advocating for the human rights of the native peoples who inhabit the land many products are sourced from.
If you’d like some help and ideas on what you could do to help protect and nurture biodiversity, join the Sustainable Wedding Alliance to connect with others, talk openly, share ideas and knowledge and help each other on your sustainable journeys.