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Why biodiversity is vital

Biodiversity, short for biological diversity, means the diversity of life in all forms. This includes the diversity of species, of genetic variations within species, habitats and ecosystems.

The importance of biological diversity to human society is hard to overstate. An estimated 40 percent of the global economy is based on biological products and processes. It is impossible to estimate how much the beauty of nature means to our culture and quality of life! Quite simply we cannnot imagine our existence without the living world around us! But biodiversity loss is rapid and ongoing. Over the last 50 years humans have changed ecosystems faster and more extensively that in any comparable period of time in human history. Humans are a major force in changing nature. Vast parts of the earth surface are transformed to meet human needs and wants for agricultural production, water energy, urbanization, tourism, transport and industry.

As demographic pressures and consumption levels increase, biodiversity decreases, and the ability of the natural world to continue delivering the goods and services on which humanity ultimately depends are undermined. Human actions pose a threat of mass extinction of species and may cause long term damage to ecosystems. Also with climate change, threats will increase to the diversity of life on earth and to human wellbeing. To start addressing the multiple threats to biodiversity we need to change our approaches to the way we live, we need to rethink how we can live within the means of the planet to support us now and in the future. These new way of thinking is named sustainability.

The key goals of sustainability are to live within our environmental limits, to achieve social justice and to foster economic and social progress. Issues such as food security, green consumerism, deforestation, depletion of natural resources, climatic change and loss of biodiversity are of primary concerns of sustainable development. We can stop the loss of biodiversity only by the sustainable use of components of biological diversity in a way and at the rate that does not lead to the long-term decline of species of plants and animals and their habitats. Thereby it is only by maintaining the richness of nature that we can meet the needs and aspirations of present and future generations.   

To reduce the loss of biodiversity we need to collaboration and cooperation between individuals, organizations and groups in society to act. Education plays a key role to develop this collaboration and change in society. But these process of change in society depends very much on quality of education and it needs support for teachers. The overall goal of our BEAGLE biodiversity project is to improve the quality of learning outside the classroom and enhance students motivation to learn, so that the capacity of people to live sustainable lifestyles and bring about a more sustainable environment is strengthened