MileStone students enjoyed their time conducting biodiversity fieldwork in Jenkintown, PA. The instruction was led by Ms. Sheila Appel in May 2021.
Biodiversity is all the different kinds of life you’ll find in one area—the variety of animals, plants, fungi, and even microorganisms like bacteria that make up our natural world. Each of these species and organisms work together in ecosystems, like an intricate web, to maintain balance and support life. Biodiversity supports everything in nature that we need to survive: food, clean water, medicine, and shelter.
But as humans put increasing pressure on the planet, using and consuming more resources than ever before, we risk upsetting the balance of ecosystems and losing biodiversity. WWF’s 2018 Living Planet Report found an average 60% decline in global populations of mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians since 1970. The 2019 landmark Global Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services reported one million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction – the highest number in human history.
Three-quarters of the land-based environment and roughly 66% of the ocean environment have been significantly altered. More than a third of the world’s land surface and nearly 75% of freshwater resources are now devoted to crop or livestock production. Climate change worsens the impact of other stressors on nature and our wellbeing. Humans have overfished the oceans, cleared forests, polluted our water sources, and created a climate crisis. These actions are impacting biodiversity around the world, from the most remote locales to our own backyards.
MSA student now have a better understanding of what our planet is facing regarding major conservation challenges from threats like climate change, deforestation, overfishing, and illegal wildlife trade.
Therefore, they pledge to continue to do their part to protect our planet and keep planetary warming below 1.5C (2.7° F). Our impact on the planet primarily comes from what we eat, what we buy, how we power our homes, and how we travel from place to place.
Governmental policies and protections also play an important role in biodiversity, so feel free to contact your local congressman or senator to find out what they are doing to save our planet on a daily basis.
It it is not impossible and none of us need to do it alone. TOGETHER we can take action to create lasting solutions and protect the future of nature.
Regularly buying from small local farmers at stands or markets helps to keep dollars in the local economy and supports agricultural efforts to conserve biodiversity. When at markets, it is important to know the lingo—’organic’ is ideal for you and for the planet, but farmers who practice ‘Integrated Pest Management’ can offer high quality products with nearly no chemical intervention.