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Loss of Biodiversity: How can we help preserve biodiversity? Part V

The next important, and perhaps the most important question is how do we feed and clothe ourselves, and earn our livelihoods in an urban setting, and still help to preserve biodiversity, the loss of which seems so far removed from our daily lives.

1. Get back into touch with Nature. Spend time in your garden, or go for nature walks. Learn as much as you can about the amazing ecosystem and uses of rainforests. Appreciation is the first step to feeling the need for personal action.

2. Scrutinise everything that you eat, wear and buy. Scrutinise the way you commute and travel. Biodiversity is being lost, directly or indirectly due to human activities and ultimately all this can be traced to products that you and I consume in our daily lives.

It’s easy to think in terms of “Factories should stop polluting rivers” or “Governments need to take action to reduce carbon emissions”, or “Companies need to raise their environmental standards, by improving their manufacturing processes.” While all these are true, this line of thinking takes the responsibility out of our hands, and leaves us with a feeling of powerlessness and helpnesses over what we can do in our lives. We feel overwhelmed by the apparent fact that it’s too difficult to “save the world” because it is happening far away from our daily lives, it’s happening in countries, towns, villages, forests and rivers and oceans far away from us.

Ultimately, everything around us in our homes is a result of our demand for products that these companies and factories need to manufacture. When we change our consumer behaviour, small changes, collectively will lead to gigantic changes in the way companies try to satisfy our new enlightenend, environmentally friendly needs.

Spend a few minutes with your family and make a list of all the important items in your home. Make the following questions a family habit. Fundamentally, this will have a profound way by which we perceive the linkages our consumption habits have with the exploitation of natural resources. Each time you put things in your shopping trolley, run these in your mind:

- Do you really need it in the first place? Is it something you can reuse, borrow or do away with?
- Where is it made? How far has it travelled to reach your supermarket?
- What materials are used in its manufacture?
- What kind of damage would have been inflicted in its manufacture, on the environment and workers?
- Is there a better alternative available, more locally, using fewer resources, less packaging, that is good for your health, wellbeing, and for the earth, even though it may mean playing a slight premium for the same?
- Is it easy to recycle or dispose of without causing much damage to the environment?

Watch www.storyofstuff.com which is an excellent animated story of our materials based economy and this has led to overexploitation of resources, explained in such a lucid way that even children will understand it.

3. Help to report any trade in endangered species in any pet shop.

4. Buy “Good Wood”. A teak coffee table from Indonesia or artistic curio from Africa are objets d’art, but if you’re not sure where they come from, chances are that they are from rainforests. So refrain from buying, if you can’t trace the source.  Instead, use cane furniture (rattan), or FSC (Forest Steward Council) stamped furniture, which come from sustainably managed plantations.

5. Use less products that impact rainforests directly such as palm oil, paper etc.

6. Help adopt an acre of rainforest here by donating for the conservation of rainforests in South America through the Nature Conservancy and/or in Asian rainforests through Borneo Orangutan Society.

7.  Learn more from Rainforest biodiversity issues from Save The Rainforest and Mongabay

The above focusses on Rainforest biodiversity, but there are also other ecosystems such as our oceans and rivers, mangroves and soils that we should care about.

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Posted by on Nov 29 2008. Filed under Biodiversity, Conservation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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