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What is biodiversity?
Biodiversity describes every living thing on Earth and how they all work and link together. From animals and plants to fungi and insects – and all the different environments they live in – biodiversity is a big and varied natural system that works perfectly to support and protect us.

Why is it so important? 
Most of us have probably never stopped to think about all the benefits of biodiversity, but it’s super important to our lives. It’s linked to our ability to grow food and breathe oxygen (thanks to plants, which take carbon dioxide out of the air). Biodiversity also helps to protect us from floods, gives us nature-filled spaces that are good for our physical and mental health, and lots more besides.

What is biodiversity loss? 
Things like the air temperature, the number of trees, water quality and air quality all affect biodiversity, and these are all being impacted and made worse by climate change. From traffic pollution to deforestation, lots of our actions are affecting the planet, so fewer species and plants are able to survive and others go extinct.

The biodiversity of our planet has changed in a big way over millions of years and, in our lifetime, we have sadly seen huge biodiversity loss. Between 1970 and 2016, WWF found an average 68% decrease in the population sizes of all animals, birds and fish.

What happens without it? 

All life on Earth is linked together in an incredibly delicate way and if any species goes extinct it can have a dangerous knock-on effect. For example, the humble oak tree supports 2,300 species, 326 of which rely on it totally to survive!

Basically, as we lose biodiversity, we lose the benefits that it gives us. such as rich and healthy soil to grow food, protection from flooding (imagine how much rainwater a forest of tree roots could soak up to reduce flooding!), we might not be able to grow as many types of food and air quality will be worse. At a certain point, these negative effects could be un-fixable and cause huge problems for humans. 

How can we fix it? 

Because biodiversity is everywhere, there are lots of things that can impact it – for the good and bad!

Some of the best things we can do to support and increase biodiversity are:

  • Protecting the oldest lands that are most rich in biodiversity such as wetlands and rain forests, which can’t be recreated. 
  • Reducing pesticides and chemicals in food production.
  • Replanting wild and native plants species.
  • Running conservation projects for animals and bees.
  • Reducing what we produce and consume globally – because using fewer resources = less environmental damage.

But, how can *I* make a difference?

Of course, you’re not the one cutting down the rainforest or making a lot of these big decisions, so it can feel like a problem that is out of your control – but you really can make a positive difference! Here are some important ways you can support biodiversity at home or at school.

If you have a front or back garden, space for a window box or flowerpots by your front door…

Can you plant a wild patch? Sow some local wildflowers and let them grow wild and tall to help bugs and bees.

Make sure you buy peat free compost. Peat is an ancient, natural material. We dig it up from marshy wetlands but it’s much better for the environment when it’s kept in the ground.

Avoid chemical fertilisers and pesticides if you’re growing your own veg or plants. Rain washes them into waterways where they can harm lots of species!

Other things that can improve biodiversity are…

Checking the cleaning supplies in your home. Nag your family and try to only use ones with natural ingredients to stop harmful chemicals being washed out into waterways.

Reduce, reuse recycle! Simple but so helpful. By being more careful about what we use, we can massively reduce our environmental impact.

Buy more organic fruit and veg. If you able to, this is a great way to support farming that doesn’t harm wildlife.

Check out some more of our ideas for supporting nature and being young (re)wild and free here.

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