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A Toxic Relationship: Biodiversity and Climate Change

How has our impact on this planet, impacted other inhabitants?

What is Biodiversity?

Though the term sounds awfully scientific, biodiversity is simply all living things which co-inhabit a particular area; Living things include not only people, flora, and fauna, but even down to those we may never notice, such as microorganisms and bacteria. Any creature capable of life and death comes under this definition of biodiversity. However, the biodiversity of our planet is being drastically edited by the rising climates we have become all too familiar with over recent years.

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How Has This Impacted Our Planet?

As reported by the United Nations, the impact of climate change has been nothing short of catastrophic. With each increasing degree globally, further consequences are becoming apparent. Through oceanic warming, the number of coral reefs - habitats to a wide variety of marine life - has halved in the past century and a half. The Great Barrier Reef being the most well-renowned of them all, has whittled to half-capacity in the short space of only a few decades. As supported by the investigation of the Australian Research Council, should this develop further, the reef may continue to not exist at all. With over 9,000 native species, this would create mass habitat loss and contribute to the endangerment of hundreds.

The factors we as people have contributed to this phenomenon, such as deforestation have created biodiversity loss in plenty of other areas also. According to the World Population Review, in tropical areas such as Brazil, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, deforestation has destroyed the habitats of a vast variety of creatures, such as the Macaw, Jaguar, Capybara, and thousands more inhabitants. The loss of an environment can lead to the reduction of species, which provokes the reduction of food sourcing. This devastating cascade of damage is only collateral in the wake of the global impact of deforestation, as without the forests to act as carbon dioxide sinks, storing the hazardous gas, the pollutant instead wreaks havoc across the environment globally.

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Though it’s not all loss. If you were to learn that in some areas biodiversity may be increased by climate change, this would likely sound like a positive consequence - unfortunately you would be incorrect. As with the rising temperatures, come melting glaciers. This event would not only lead to the extinction of inhabitants such as polar bears and penguins, but also reintroduce to our environment currently frozen pathogens which have been lost to us for millennia. Having recently completed one pandemic, the prospect of numerous simultaneous others is not too enticing an idea; if this practice of warming were to continue, this would be inevitable. Though an awful prospect, it is not so much an act of the future but is instead a living reality for some. In Serbia during 2016, Anthrax spores were released into the environment through the melting of glaciers which had previously contained them, leading to the death of a 12 year old boy. Though this potential epidemic was caught in its early stages, less careful handling could provide the possibility of a much more dangerous outcome.

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A Two-Way Street

The relationship between biodiversity and climate change is not simply one way, but rather a current imbalance. Should there be an increase in biodiversity, the impact of climate change would be reduced through the retention of toxins by the environment. Wetlands such as the Pantanal in South America or the Florida Everglades in the United States are home to thousands of units of greenhouse gases, stored safely in waters and soils. An increase in oxidizing vegetation from reforestation also would reduce the effects of climate change, furthermore reducing the impact of habitat-loss, and imbalances in food sourcing for a variety of living organisms. Through the act of restoration, biodiversity has the ability to fight the effects of climate change - what it needs however, is someone to instigate that change for the better.


United Nations - Biodiversity - our strongest natural defense against climate change:,with%20every%20degree%20of%20warming.

Australian Research Council: ralias-great-barrier-reef

Native Species to the Great Barrier Reef:

United Nations: Biodiversity and Nature-based solutions: ns#:~:text=Biodiversity%20can%20support%20efforts%20to,climate%20change%20by%20s toring%20carbon.

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