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Is man a spectator or an integral part of biodiversity?

Posted by Geneviève Ferone on 9 February 2010

Global warming, its effects, and the measures to be adopted have become major political issues. In 2010, the effects of global warming on biodiversity have clearly risen to the top of political and scientific agenda. The big news however is that it has also started emerging as part of business concerns. Firms address biodiversity in their economic models with great difficulty. In general, they list out their good deeds in terms of the preservation of natural resources and the balance of ecosystems. More often than not, they highlight their foundations’ virtuous efforts.

Urban Man still depends on nature and biodiversity

In general, regardless of his occupations, man (and of course woman) has become an increasingly urban creature, pacing the pavement, regarding biodiversity as a nice window to be opened every now and again with a hint of nostalgia. Humanity believes it does not belong to this biodiversity. We as humans admire it, take walks in it, but we never consider ourselves a part of it.

It is evident though that man cannot position himself beyond the reaches of biodiversity to which he (still) belongs. We are all tied to the Earth by an incredibly fragile umbilical cord of which we ultimately know so very little. We are not fully conscious of our vulnerability. Therefore, who is truly capable of measuring how much of our daily lives depends on the astounding favours Mother Nature freely provides?

“Climate Refugees”, an example of species dispersal

Should we decide to ignore the fate of the other species with which we share our planet, we could at least wonder about our own capacities to adapt within the final link of dependence that ties us to the living. Our species does indeed play a specific and major role in current and future climate modifications. It is equally a part of biodiversity. As such, it is not spared by the factors of biodiversity erosion, be they the effects of pollution on our health or the introduction of new species, bacteria, viruses and their vectors. Our adaptive mechanisms can be understood on the same levels as those of other species: physiological, behavioural, and genetic. Climate refugees are another example of biological dispersal, members of a species looking for a new, more favourable ecological niche when former habitats have been modified.

Consolidating the management of our planet’s resources

Biodiversity management cannot be separated from that of other natural resources with which it interacts and which are also heavily impacted by global warming. This is particularly true in terms of competition for land, flow management, and the handling other vital fluids: mobility, energy, water, natural and nourishing resources, waste production… To further compel man to a permanent awareness of his vulnerability and dependence, we must create without delay governmental instances that encompass all aspects of the sustainable management of biodiversity and threatened resources, avoiding if possible the trap of parcelling specializations and responsibilities.

Mission Impossible?

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