Lack of Awareness

The Problem

Biodiversity is threatened by a variety of global changes that result from the actions of the human race. The most direct threats are overharvesting of resources and habitat destruction. However, other changes, such as elevated carbon dioxide levels that go hand-in-hand with climate change, pose long-term threats (Duraiappah and Naeem 2005). There is a general lack of awareness about the biodiversity crisis.

Humans are naturally inclined to disregard issues that are not directly present in his life. There are people that are largely unaware of the biodiversity crisis. This is often due to lack of education. In children, it may also be caused by a removal from nature that has accompanied the shift to a technology-dependent world. This removal may result from the emergence of a technology-dependent lifestyle. However, this issue extends beyond children. According to the Secretariat of the Convention of Biological Diversity (2011), only 35 percent of European Union citizens said that they actually knew what "biodiversity" meant. International Institute of Environment and Development Press Officer Mike Shanahan proposed that the word "biodiversity" itself deters people from understanding the problem. The inflated language used to describe the variance of species and ecosystems prevents some from grasping the concept of biodiversity.

There are also people who are aware of the biodiversity crisis but do not believe it presents a real problem. Some people may not truly realize the magnitude of the problem because they have not directly witnessed its effects. It can be difficult to connect biodiversity loss with the somewhat removed problems that it causes. As such, some people are unaware of the full implications of the situation. Others feel that biological problems in nature are not man-made, but that they are merely a part of a natural timeline and will correct themselves. Diversity reduction, climate change, and overpopulation are seen as trivial matters to the doubtful.

There are also those who understand the effects that biodiversity loss has on everyday life, but do not know what they can do to remedy the problem. Many members of society manage to convince themselves that they cannot make real changes. Others may believe that they do not have the time or effort to make a difference. But, the issue of biodiversity loss is such that collections of small-scale efforts can have a real effect on mitigating the problem.

Nature has the ability to independently adapt and transform, but man adapts dependently with nature. When the Earth was burgeoning, little oxygen existed in the atmosphere, yet over four billion years later, more than fourteen billion species inhabit the Earth. The variance in theworld is important because it promotes greater resilience to environmental pressure so that life can continue in the event of a plague. It also extends down the chain of bare essentials: food is derived from free resources in the environment, clothes are produced from world's creatures, and invaluable medicine is extracted from the plants of the globe. When humans fails to recognize and preserve the richness and providence of nature, they cease to exist. Though it may not appear to be as prevalent an issue as war and technological advancement in society, the encompassing nature of the variety of biological species and their interactions in the world is an integral part of every individual's life. Conserving biodiversity is safeguarding humanity (Shanahan, 2008). Yet, in order to conserve, one must be aware and well-informed.

In order to be well-informed about biodiversity, humans must be able to understand it. However, the current education system severly lacks biodiversity. Biodiversity is not a hot-button topic. The lack of general education funding only exacerbates the problem. Thus, while there is apparent overall interest in nature, the public does not focus on biodiversity. This is not congruent with the visible interest in biodiversity. for instance, zoos, aqauriums, and botanical gardens usually generate interest. Yet beyond the knowledge of a few charismatic species there exists a gap in public awareness about the critical role biodiversity plays in providing the essentials for our survival and wellbeing. But, the existing interest in the subject suggests that this lack of awareness could be remedied.

The world is losing biodiversity at an alarming rate. Most of the causes of this loss can be traced back to human actions. Humans need to connect with biodiversity and understand it, in order to identify what can be done to slow and even reverse its loss.