Let’s take a little quiz, shall we? I am going to give you five statements about biodiversity, and you tell me which one(s) are true.
- There are 8 million estimated animal and plant species on Earth.
- More than one million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction.
- Wildlife populations are declining at a rate of approximately 1% each year.
- Humans overuse Earth’s biocapacity by an estimated 56%.
- Climate change is the third leading cause for change in nature.
I am sure somewhere around the third statement you realized that all the above statements are true. I am also sure that you felt a little helpless and saddened by these facts and figures. Well, welcome to the good news: there is lots you can do to help as an individual or in your community to protect biodiversity in your area.
September marks Biodiversity Month in Australia where each year the Australian government aims to promote the importance of protecting, conserving, and improving biodiversity both within Australia and across the world. So, what is Biodiversity? Biodiversity is every part which makes up our ecosystem; it is the variety of those living things: plants, animals, micro-organisms, and all which they sustain.
ORIGO Education was founded and is still based in Australia, home to between 600,000 and 700,000 species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Our office is based in the state of Queensland, which has a land mass area of about 1.7 million square km (667,860 square miles, about the size of Alaska) Queensland’s climate zones range from the tropics in the north (near the equator), to hot and dry desert interiors, cool temperate hills and the subtropical coast.
As humans, we depend on the Earth and its resources for sustenance, health, even enjoyment. It is (has been) time to take action and give back to that which provides for us. Let’s take action, and together inspire others to follow in our footsteps.
We challenge you to make these giant quantities and abstract ideas real for your students. How big is 8 million, really? How many species are represented by each person in your school? In your community? (My city has a population of about 30,000. Each of us represents about 267 species!) What species are endangered in your local community? What is being done to protect them? What can you and your students do to support this work? If each family uses a cloth bag instead of a plastic bag twice a week, how many plastic bags aren’t used in a week? In a month?
Over the month of September, ORIGO Education employees are making it their personal responsibility to help protect their environment and community. These efforts will be shared on our Social Media platforms under our hashtag #ORIGOCommunity. We want to inspire you to do the same. Join us in using cloth shopping bags. Follow our lead with upcycling. Plant nectar-producing flowers for the bees. Or post your own creative way you are helping sustain biodiversity in your area. Tag us and help spread the word that if everyone was to make a few small changes, what a different we can all make.