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Old 06-11-2011, 01:37 AM   #1
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earth1 Why Should You Care About Biodiversity?

Why Should You Care About Biodiversity?

Eleanor J. Sterling, Nora Bynum,
Melina Laverty, Ian Harrison,
Sacha Spector & Elizabeth Johnson

Center for Biodiversity and Conservation
American Museum of Natural History

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What is biodiversity?
... For the purposes of this paper,we define biodiversity as:
the variety of life on Earth at all its levels, from genes to ecosystems, and the ecological and evolutionary processes that sustain this variety
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Why is biodiversity important?
... Often the values of ecosystem services are not considered in commercial market analyses, yet they are critically important to human survival. Humans can rarely replace these services or, if they can, it is only at considerable cost. For example, an estimated 90 percent of flowering plants depend on pollinators, such as wasps, birds, bats, and bees, to reproduce. Without these pollinators, many plant species would face extinction. Plants and their pollinators are increasingly threatened around the world (Buchmann and Nabhan 1995; Kremen and Ricketts 2000). Yet pollination is critical to most major crops and virtually impossible to replace. For instance, imagine how costly orange juice would be (and how little would be available) if its natural pollinators no longer existed and each orange flower had to be fertilized by hand.
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What Can We Do?
Just as governments must make regional and national decisions that affect biodiversity, individual citizens and communities make decisions that affect biodiversity as well. ...
Empower individuals. Some feel that governments and corporations have the most influence on local and global biodiversity, rather than individuals. However, governments and corporations are organized and run by individuals. In democratic societies, at least, individuals have the responsibility to understand the ramifications of their choices on biodiversity along with the responsibility to participate in local decision-making. The actions of individuals, whether acting alone or in concert with others, will have the most profound effects on the future of biodiversity.
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Some of the most critical priority setting is done everyday by individuals in their own lives—decisions of where to live, what to buy, what to do on and with their land, or even how to vote. ...
http://cbc.amnh.org/center/pubs/pdfs/BiologicalDiversity.pdf
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Old 06-11-2011, 10:48 AM   #2
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Some of the most critical priority setting is done everyday by individuals in their own lives—decisions of where to live, what to buy, what to do on and with their land, or even how to vote. ...
How true. This is a very well produced publication. Are people listening and acknowledging the importance of biodiversity?
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Old 06-11-2011, 11:12 AM   #3
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How true. This is a very well produced publication. Are people listening and acknowledging the importance of biodiversity?
It should be being taught in the high schools, but it isn't. In the high school I teach at, they made it an elective, but the class lacked rigor and became a magnet for students who wanted to "flake out" and get an easy grade.

The Biology departments would be the places where it would best be taught, but at most high schools, the courses start at the micro level and, by the time they get through the basics, the instructors find they've run out of time and aren't up on the most pressing issues of the day anyway.

Too often the teachers themselves are lacking passion and interest. I've found that teachers like Bridget1964 are rare.
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Old 06-12-2011, 02:12 PM   #4
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I like the way the article puts everything in perspective; especially with respect to the many things we take for granted (like pollination, the production of the oxygen we breath, etc.). And I like the way it discusses how the true costs are so often hidden or ignored. This has not served us (humanity) or the planet well.

But even with all the damage that we have done to the environment, the article makes it clear that if we educate people such that it creates the desire and will to make the right choices, we really can be successful.
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:45 AM   #5
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Excellent article, Cirsium.

I'd say you are preaching to the choir here...but this sure gives us a strong argument for our philosophy. I'll have to add it to my attempts at answering the question "why natives?".
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:55 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by jack View Post
The Biology departments would be the places where it would best be taught, but at most high schools, the courses start at the micro level and, by the time they get through the basics, the instructors find they've run out of time and aren't up on the most pressing issues of the day anyway.
When I was in high school, we learned Biology at the macro level...I ate it up, and it was easily understood and accessed by what we knew and could see around us. Years later, as an adult, I had the opportunity to interpret a Biology class in high school...I was so excited, then I realized it was being taught from the molecular level...I hated it--hated that a crucial part seemed to be lacking. Perhaps, this was Biology II, but I don't think so.


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Too often the teachers themselves are lacking passion and interest. I've found that teachers like Bridget1964 are rare.
Hopefully, teachers like Bridget are touching more young minds than we realize...year after year, that is a lot of students.
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:14 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by dapjwy View Post
When I was in high school, we learned Biology at the macro level...I ate it up, and it was easily understood and accessed by what we knew and could see around us. Years later, as an adult, I had the opportunity to interpret a Biology class in high school...I was so excited, then I realized it was being taught from the molecular level...I hated it--hated that a crucial part seemed to be lacking. Perhaps, this was Biology II, but I don't think so.




Hopefully, teachers like Bridget are touching more young minds than we realize...year after year, that is a lot of students.
Yes, high school Biology needs to adjust their sequencing of topics. Presently, they spend so much time on the microscopic level that they never get to, or give a synopsis of the macro level. For most students who are never going to go on in the field, this absence of learning macro material like say, the relationship between plants and animals, is for a lifetime - they never learn it.
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:35 AM   #8
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Yes, high school Biology needs to adjust their sequencing of topics. Presently, they spend so much time on the microscopic level that they never get to, or give a synopsis of the macro level. For most students who are never going to go on in the field, this absence of learning macro material like say, the relationship between plants and animals, is for a lifetime - they never learn it.
~sigh~ I was hoping I had just not been around for a prerequisite class. I am not an educator, but I am in the school system...and I feel relating to life experiences and what one can observe and relate to seems to be a great starting point...then move on to what is more complex/abstract.

I can't imagine not including a class in Biology like I had. I loved that class and the Botany class I had with the same teacher.
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