Most of us have fond memories of trees when we were younger, climbing them and sitting underneath them for shade on a sunny day. Unfortunately, according to Our Planet, we have cleared nearly half of all the planet’s forests for timber production and/or agriculture. In just 25 years, we’ve lost over one-million square kilometres of forests. Luckily, nature does have a way of bouncing back and has the extraordinary ability to recover. We need to put value back into nature and not take it for granted. Here are three ways you can help increase biodiversity in your local area.
1. Plant More Trees
Just the slightest opportunity, and trees can reveal their magical ability to restore themselves and rewild the land. Even under the harshest of conditions, nature has the resilience to find ground and grow seemingly from nothing. Across the globe, there are millions of tiny forests in the making. And I’m talking right outside in your gardens or local parks. Just imagine what you could do with your local community if you encouraged your council to plant more trees! It would increase the natural woodlands in the area, invite wildlife to return and children could once again explore the natural world.
As the population continues to grow, it’s becoming more and more important to increase the world’s natural biodiversity to support us and the species we share this planet with. Planting more trees through local initiatives is one way to do this. Starting small and scaling it up! Check out Creating Tomorrow's Forests where you can gift a tree this Christmas!
2. Reduce Your Plastic Consumption
Did you know that every year, millions of tons of plastic enter the oceans, of which the majority spills out from rivers. A portion of this plastic travels to ocean garbage patches, getting caught in a vortex of circulating currents. If no action is taken, the plastic will increasingly impact our ecosystems, our health, and ultimately our economies. Micro-plastics are damaging a whole range of ocean- and land-based species too. Thousands of sea birds die every year because they consume tiny bits of plastic that they think is algae covered food. They suffer a slow and painful death before their 1st birthday! Not only is this devastating, it’s having wider implications on the food chain in the natural world. The simplest solution is to reduce our reliance on single-use plastic and phase it out. But in the meantime we’ve still got to clean up our rivers! Join a local ‘Clean Up’ near you and be part of something with meaning and purpose. Head to Thames21 if you’re based in London and would love to get involved in some river cleanups near you.
3. Buy Eco-Friendly Products
Another way we can all increase biodiversity is swapping out products which contain harmful chemicals for natural, eco-friendly ones. Instead of buying a shampoo bottle that contains 101 different chemicals, why not try a shampoo bar? Instead of purchasing a plastic soap dispenser, choose a soap bar with cardboard packaging! There are plenty of small, independent brands out there that use natural ingredients only. Check out Concentr8ed for example.
They did a lot of research and found that a lot of popular shampoos & conditioners actually contain a high percentage of water! So, stop paying for water and ask your friends and neighbours to do the same. Write to your local MP asking them to put pressure on the government to reduce the use of harmful chemicals and palm-oil. If more people can steer towards eco-conscious products, our waters be become cleaner, our forests stronger, our wildlife healthier. And that directly affects us!
We’ve fallen into the trap of convenience and we need to re-evaluate what’s important. Biodiversity matters because it represents an interconnectivity that we don't yet fully understand. Scientists and ecologists are making sense of nature's interdependence by questioning what's disappearing and why. So let's plant more trees to fight climate change, look after our oceans to improve it's carbon capture, and buy eco-friendly products to reduce nasty chemicals entering our waterway systems. We’re intrinsically connected to the ocean and we need to look after it.