This week we want to devote this newsletter to recognizing the importance of biodiversity. There are several really critical issues which we are on a global environmental tipping point. Biodiversity ranks amongst the most pressing issues. I recommend that everybody watch the Netflix film "Breaking boundaries: the science of our planet", a new David Attenborough and Johan Rockström film (Breaking Boundaries). This film clearly illustrates how we are effectively on the edge of a many-sided environmental catastrophe. In some ways the film doesn't go far enough is saying what response we all need to take, but the message of the film is that if we act now we can still turn things around, but it means acting now on many fronts.
Biodiversity is a complex issue, which needs to be understood on many levels. We need to see that it is not just a matter of preserving a few key or iconic species. Reversing biodiversity loss requires re-establishing habitats (and sometimes reintroducing species). Whilst emblematic species like pandas or tigers catch public attention (and so they should!), much more insidious is the loss of microbes and insects from our everyday landscapes, which has a knock on (knock-out) effect on species higher in the foodweb. Research shows that when more species of crop are grown in a given field, there are more insects. When we have 8 or 10 crop species growing together insect pest are held in check. Monoculture, the inverse of this polyculture, literally kills of hundreds or thousands of species of microbes and insects - this is not just a sad loss, it is a existential threat to us all.
Quite frankly, from hereon in we all need to get very serious and consequential about the food and travel choices we make. These are far and away the two areas of our lives which have the biggest impact on climate and biodiversity, and also the two areas of our lives we can have the most direct impact on. Very simply eating locally grown, seasonal organic foods is about the best step you can take to reduce your environmental foodprint, as long as this is done in parallel with being very conscious and careful about how we use our cars or take trips abroad. Insist on minimal packaging and walk, run, ride wherever we can!
Sorry, if this seems like a rant. The science couldn't be clearer that from now on we need radical change to avoid catastrophe.