Biodiversity as we know it today is the result of 3.5 billion years of evolution. Unfortunately, due to human overexploitation of natural resources, due to non-sustainable development models and the resulting disturbances on the environment, we are going through a species extinction crisis alongside an unprecedented degradation of the ecosystems. This degradation is the most severe in the History of humanity and has serious consequences on our life quality and, in some regions, on human capacity to even survive.
In fact, even if we generally don’t have it in mind, the services provided by the ecosystems contribute in different ways to our well-being or simply to our survival. Here is the European Union classification:
- The supply services that provide us with food, fresh water, fibres, genetical resources and certain medicinal products.
- The regulation services include the benefits we withdraw from ecosystems natural processes. They allow the balance of climates, water purification, natural risks management, pollination, waste management or pest control.
- The habitat services that perpetuate the migratory species’ niches, thus guaranteeing the durability of the gene pools.
- The cultural services are the immaterial benefits withdrawn especially by humans, such as spiritual fulfilment, intellectual development, leisure activities and aesthetic values.
The ecosystems stability lies on a balance based on the variety of the species that constitute them and a reasoned use of those services. A balanced biodiversity is evidence that those services will keep being provided by the ecosystems. The degradation of the quality of those services is therefore fatal to all species and some of them have already suffered the impact of humans on this biodiversity.
An uncertain future for the ecosystems of the planet
OECD identified in its projections for 2050 the majors points in biodiversity depletion that inevitably lead to the collapse of the ecosystems:
- The changes in soil use (ex. agriculture),
- The expansion of commercial forestry,
- The development of infrastructures,
- The encroachment of human activities
- The fragmentation of natural habitats,
- Pollution and global warming
Plus, these points match the major threats stated in the 2016 WWF Living Planet Report. All these indicators converge towards alarming projections when we know how essential the ecosystems and the services they provide are to species’ survival and well-being. According to a study conducted by Biodiversity Information System for Europe (BISE), the ecosystems are drawn to collapse or suffer deep modifications beyond a certain point of imbalance, to various levels of sustainability. All the changes inflicted to the ecosystems, on both local and global scales, generate modifications in the processes that regulate them.
We are consequently facing deep mutations in the structure of the planet’s different natural habitats, thus occasioning a major imbalance in the benefits we draw for our survival.
If measures are not durably taken to counteract the growing fragilization and collapse of our ecosystems, we will witness the loss of the services that are indispensable for us to live.
Therefore, the EduConservation project aims at sensitizing the youth of three pilot countries to the crucial place biodiversity in their respective environments. With our private and public partners, we work towards a global and generalized awareness of the environmental challenges caused by the intensification of human activities and the foreseen doubling of the African population by 2050.