The United Nations declared 2010 to be the International Year of Biodiversity. Biodiversity is the variety of life that shares our earth.
The loss of biodiversity has many causes, much of it due to human activity, including habitat destruction & fragmentation, thoughtless development, global warming, invasive species, pollution etc. Why should we care? We are losing biodiversity everyday, even our own backyard, and once gone or near extinction, it is impossible or very expensive to reverse. Why wait until species reach the point of no return before we do something? The number of endangered species in Illinois alone is probably greater than you suspect, and species loss is just one part of the biodiversity picture. Biologist and author Edward O. Wilson states: “The one process now going on that will take millions of years to correct is loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. ”
Biodiversity loss has a chain reaction that affects us humans adversely – such as the loss of crop pollination, medical discoveries, clean water, pest and disease control, and many others impacts that we may never know until it is too late. For me, the loss of something as simple as the hoot of a Great Horned owl or the sweet scent of a prairie would also be a loss to my physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Ask yourself the question posed by Rachel Carlson “What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?”
What can we do to help? The good news is, we can make a difference.
Learn about the biodiversity in your area and how your choices can affect biodiversity all around you, locally and globally. Support activities or organizations that protect biodiversity, educate others, & make responsible choices. As The Nature Conservancy recommends “Use your outside voice and speak up for Nature!” It’s also important that we all deepen our connection to nature so that we will develop a land ethic, defined by Aldo Leopold: “The land is a community is a basic concept of ecology, but that the land is to be loved and respected is an extension of ethics. We can be ethical only in relation to something we see, feel, understand, love or otherwise have faith in.”
Fortunately using native plants in your landscape is one of the important ways you can support biodiversity, right in your backyard. I invite you to learn more. Here is an excellent article written by Dr. Doug Tallamy about this important topic : Gardening for Life .