Humans and the World
Humans have become the dominant species on this planet. More than any other species, we have the ability to change the world that we live in. In the last two centuries we have dramatically changed the face of this planet, and have caused great harm to the world's many ecosystems. We have started to realize the harm we have caused the world, and some of our action are now focused on trying to maintain biodiversity.
One thing we are doing that is greatly reducing biodiversity is destroying habitat. This is happening all over the world as humans expand our cities and try to get more resources from the world. This can easily be seen in South America, where the rain forests are being cut down at astonishing rates. These forests are habitats for a huge number of species, and as we cut them down that habitat is lost.
It is not only habitat we have actively destroyed. Throughout human history we have hunted many species into, or close to, extinction. When we destroy a species, we affect its entire environment. If it was a to predator then the things it ate may expand out of control. If it was a major prey item that many other species ate then a mass starvation may follow. Our destruction of individual species has had a large impact on many ecosystems.
Though our industrialization of society we have caused even more problems of the world. Chemicals we put into the water and air sicken plants and animals. This can cause the collapse of entire ecosystems. Our emissions have also helped the world to more rapidly warm. The warming can drastically affect environments by destroying habitat, making some species less able to thrive and even making some species more able to expand. In the arctic , the ice that previously acted as habitat for some creatures is quickly receding.
Humans have also destroyed ecosystems when we have moved species around the world. When we bring species somewhere they don't belong, they can cause havoc in an already established ecosystem. They can out do species that are supposed to be in the ecosystem, and compete them into extinction. They might also reproduce quickly or need large quantities of food, which can put a huge strain on the ecosystems ability to maintain itself. Some can even have an impact on the physical condition of the ecosystem itself. An example of an invasive species are the nutria we see in all the bodies of water around town.
What can be done?
There are five major things we can do to help make sure out planets biodiversity is maintained.
- The world should become educated on the long-term benefits out world and its many ecosystems will lose if biodiversity is not maintained. These benefits include ecosystems being productive and stable.
- Use the long-term benefits of biodiversity to our economic advantage. This can include using strong, protected ecosystems to bring in tourism. It can also mean using biodiversity to our advantage by finding natural medics and other things like that.
- Have different parties learn to cooperate on this issue. This means having scientist, politicians, conservation organisation, ect. working together to find solution to help combat the loss of biodiversity
- We need to try and stop out of control human population growth. As human population continues to grow, we will need more land and resources. This will require us to take more land and further hurt the world ecosystems. If humans can slow population growth or get it to stop altogether, further expansion into natural habitats will be less needed.
- We need to further our conservation programs. Humans need to do more than just stop their own expansion if we hope to save biodiversity. We must actively try to protect organism and help them to thrive.
Biology for the Informed Citizen: with physiology Donna M. Bozzone, Douglas S. Green