Commentary

The Importance of Promoting Biodiversity

How we will motivate our community to support important causes for the future.
Photo by Margaret Polinder on Unsplash
Published on
June 9, 2023
Contributors
Allies and Partners
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ACES leaders and Youth Corps team members

Editor’s note:

This is one in a continuing series of guest opinions about fostering environmental stewardship and leadership coordinated by ACES — The Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards.

Advertisers know that they need to appeal to emotions to motivate action for people to purchase something. They know people are moved by beauty, love, fear, or just plain free stuff to promote them to act. And of course, they do a good job if they can back it up with some logical explanation to satisfy our internal sensors. That’s why you’ll see photos of good-looking people in romantic situations, or cute babies or puppies all while communicating why their product will make your life better. 
 
If we want to convince people to preserve biodiversity on our little planet Earth, we’ll need to enlist similar motivations. When they think about it humans are fascinated by animals of all sorts. Somehow the biodiversity of the birds and flowers and lions and gazelles captures our attention. Environmentalists can talk the science all week long and it won’t be as effective in motivating action as good tales and visualizations of elephant moms or rescued sea turtles.
 
For examples of how to do that environmentalists might want to look back to Charles Darwin who was the 19th century naturalist famous for his global travels observing wildlife. In his travels and observations, he came to his insights about the dynamics of biodiversity which he wrote in “On the Origin of the Species”. 
 
He had real science thought processes, but he also had a way with words that helped his readers understand his findings. For example, “Building a better mousetrap merely results in smarter mice.” He meant the mice which didn’t get caught survived to reproduce and make the next generation that little bit smarter. He communicated a complex topic with simple word visuals of little mice.
 
His analysis of the plants and animals he gathered piqued his curiosity about how species form and change over time. This work convinced him of the insight that he is most famous for — natural selection. The theory of natural selection says that individuals of a species are more likely to survive in their environment and pass on their genes to the next generation when they inherit traits from their parents that are best suited for that specific environment.
 
There are many real messages to the 21st Century in Darwin’s insights, especially in political or economic levels realms. His quote captures some of that:
 

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change, that lives within the means available and works co-operatively against common threats.”
 
Adaptability, the willingness to cooperate, living within its means and the ability to change, those are the keys to survival on earth in the age of the Anthropocene - the age of human domination of the Earth. 
 
ACES urges everyone to learn about and promote the importance of biodiversity for the wellbeing of future generations. More importantly, we all need to act individually to do what we can to support that diversity. 
·  Let part of our yards grow a bit wild so pollinator bees and butterflies can have
an island of life nearby. 
·  Encourage your community to plant more trees.
·  Replace harmful pesticides and herbicides with organic substitutes.
·  Reduce heavy, organic, methane-producing waste by composting.
·  Support incorporating Environmental Literacy into our schools in every grade.
·  Support local land and water conservation efforts and join or re-join important
environmental organizations committed to this end. 
  
Our Youth Corps asks you to help care about biodiversity for the future of our planet and provide any thoughts about a project or practice that could foster more diversity. Send us a note at acesnewburyport@gmail.com . To learn more about ACES and its Initiatives, visit https://www.aces-alliance.org.

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