The food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe all depend on the earth’s biodiversity. The survival of every life form on the planet is interdependent and the network of these mutual relationships between every living thing, including man, form the planet’s ecosystems.
Biodiversity is a very broad and complex feature of the world we live in and is most vital to the future of humanity. The changing nature of our planet and the imbalance in ecosystems the world is currently experiencing due to environmental factors man-made and originating from nature has become a serious cause for concern.
Human activities through industrial development and technological advancement have greatly impacted the natural environment and caused plenty of changes in biodiversity over the past 100 or so odd years. The increasing consumption levels of plant and animal resources and the demographic pressure on the environment have cause heavy pollution of our air, water and land bodies causing the build up of greenhouse gases and driving the effects of climate change experienced all over the world today.
The production sector, chiefly the fashion industry, has contributed in no small way towards the decline in biodiversity. This industry relies heavily on biodiversity for the production and processing of raw materials in creating fashion textiles and products as well as packaging. Its supply chains are directly linked to waterway pollution, problems of soil degradation, and the destabilization of natural ecosystems.
Ecological Effects Of Biodiversity Loss
The great loss of biodiversity is most felt in the endangered species population. The long-term survival of species is threatened by gene loss and altered reproductive capabilities. This declining biodiversity lowers the productivity of the ecosystem as well as the contribution of that ecosystem to the cycles that maintains life through it. (this soil maintenance, water purification, food supply, shade, etc.).
Because as humans, we rely on plants, animals, and other organisms to drive our survival and economic systems, a decline in biodiversity among other natural resources is guaranteed to threaten food security disease treatment as raw materials used by pharmaceuticals becomes less available and a loss of aesthetics due to the simplified homogenization of ecosystems.
Solutions & How To Help As a Citizen
With the increasing awareness of this, sustainable fashion is providing an opportunity for the fashion industry to look at how its activities have contributed to the loss of biodiversity and making drastic changes.
Many fashion brands and companies have started working actively towards becoming carbon neutral through the creation of a myriad of initiatives to combat the negative effect of pollution and climate change—an attempt to steer humanity towards redemption.
Governments across the world and non-governmental organizations must, as a matter of urgency, work together to create incentives that conserve natural habitats and protect the species within them from unnecessary harvesting while discouraging, if not penalizing, any behavior that contributes to habitat loss and degradation.
Sustainable development must be considered when creating new farmland and human living spaces. Laws that prevent poaching and the indiscriminate trade in wildlife must be improved and enforced. Ports must ramp up inspection of shipping materials to combat stowaway organisms. More effective ways should be identified and implemented to prevent continued biodiversity loss by protecting the remaining species from overhunting and over-fishing and keeping their habitats and ecosystems untroubled.
In the end, we need nature, just as much as it needs us, and protecting it is not only necessary but mandatory.