Scientists observe biodiversity Boris Hovat/Getty Images

Sounding the Alarm on Biodiversity Loss

While solutions to climate change remain elusive, at least the world's policymakers have demonstrated an understanding for the risks posed by rising temperatures. Unfortunately, there is no similar awareness of the threat posed by biodiversity loss – a shortcoming that scientists are urgently seeking to rectify.

NORWICH – With the United Nations’ climate change conference underway in Bonn, Germany, rising global temperatures are once again at the top of the world’s agenda. But why care about the increase in temperature, if not because of its impact on life on Earth, including human life?

That is an important question to consider, in view of the relative lack of attention devoted to a closely related and equally important threat to human survival: the startling pace of global biodiversity loss.

The availability of food, water, and energy – fundamental building blocks of every country’s security – depends on healthy, robust, and diverse ecosystems, and on the life that inhabits them. But, as a result of human activities, planetary biodiversity is now declining faster than at any point in history. Many policymakers, however, have yet to recognize that biodiversity loss is just as serious a threat as rising sea levels and increasingly frequent extreme weather events.

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