How can you help to conserve biodiversity?

Tips to protect plants and pollinators!

Author(s)
Megan Potts
Topic
How can you help to conserve biodiversity?
Pledge
Protect plants and pollinators

What is biodiversity?

Biodiversity is the variety of plants and animals on earth [1]

But in reality, it is more than that. Protecting biodiversity is about promoting conditions for life on earth to survive and thrive.

The UK alone holds 70,000 known species of animals [2], plants, fungi and microorganisms, making it a hub for all types of life and vitally important to keep the existing ecosystems around us up and running.

Although, in recent years the UK has experienced a decline in species abundance of 13% on average, 15% of species face the threat of extinction and since 1970 the abundance of UK priority species has declined by 60%. [3]

As part of the G7, the UK has committed to the global ‘30x30’ initiative to conserve at least 30% of the world’s land and at least 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030. This has been further supported by the introduction of a new UK Environment Bill focused on halting biodiversity loss by 2030 in order to protect the environment for future generations [4].

However, a recent report by the The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services (IPBES) - the global body responsible for assessing the state of the planet’s biodiversity, has found that governments across the globe have frequently ignored the value of nature [5]. Instead policy-makers have prioritised economic growth, leading us to a global biodiversity crisis. Therefore, for the UK to make transformative progress towards protecting nature and biodiversity, a real change in the way nature is valued and prioritised will be necessary.

So…how can I help?

Biodiversity is essential for all life on earth as without it, millions of people around the world will face a future where food supplies are more vulnerable to pests and diseases, and where fresh water supplies are irregular and sparse. With reduced biodiversity, ecosystems around us will begin to drastically change.

Although this is a global issue, there are steps we can take as individuals to support the protection and conservation of biodiversity closer to home.

Infographic summary of tips to support biodiversity

1. Support local and organic farms!

Farmers play a central part in protecting biodiversity. New technological advances are made every day in the field of agriculture including progress in biotechnology, allowing farmers to grow more food on the same amount of land. [6] This means that natural habitats that should be teeming with life and different species, don’t have to be converted into farmland and can stay a healthy ecosystem.

To support farmers, try to buy local foods when you can, and try to learn what they are doing on the farm to help conserve biodiversity! This will also help reduce your diet emissions by an average of 220 kg CO2e per year, a win-win for the environment! [9]

If you want to take it a step further, opt for products from organic farms as they are brimming with wildlife such as bees, butterflies and every insect in-between. On average, plant, insect and bird life is up to 50% more abundant on organic farms. [7]

2. Reduce your water use!

Fresh bodies of water are essential for biodiversity and aquatic animals need as much space as they can get to fully thrive in their natural habitat. By conserving water use, you can help protect wetlands thus promoting biodiversity. [8]

An easy way to do this is to cut down the time of your daily shower. By reducing your shower from 10 minutes to 5 minutes you can save significant amounts of water as well as reducing your carbon footprint by 115 kg CO2e per year.

Alternatively, collecting rainwater using a water butt can help to reduce your water consumption; an average house in a low rainfall area can collect 60,000 litres of water per year. Using this to water your garden instead of tap water, you could save around 17.58 kg CO2e! [9]

3. Save the bees!

Bees pollinate nearly 90% of plant species and help provide more than 35% of the world’s food supply. [8] In addition to this, bees also significantly contribute to the mitigation of climate change. In the long-term, the protection of bees can help reduce hunger, preserve a healthy environment and promote biodiversity.

Screenshot of Greenr Bee Friendly Garden Pledge

To help save the bees, grow a bee friendly garden! By planting a wide range of wild flowers in your garden, bees can have access to nectar out of summer. Not only will you be supporting these precious pollinators, your garden will be bursting with life and colour!

Additionally if you spot a tired bee, you can treat them to some sugar and let it ‘bee’; bees can lose energy quickly so a hint of sugar does wonders for their work!

Download the Greenr App to track the steps you're taking to protect biodiversity and conserve the environment!

Sources [1] The National Trust - What is biodiversity? [2] The Royal Society - What is the state of biodiversity on the UK? [3] UK Parliament - Biodiversity in the UK: bloom or bust? [4] Defra - Landmark Environment Bill [5] WWF - IPBES Value of Nature Report [6] Bio Org - Agricultural biotechnology [7] Soil Association - Organic farming is better for wildlife [8] Crop Life - Protecting biodiversity [9] The Greenr App