Biodiversity, short for biological diversity, is the term used to describe the variety of life found on Earth and all of the natural processes. This includes ecosystem, genetic and cultural diversity, and the connections between these and all species.
The different aspects of biodiversity all have a very strong influence on each other. We have only just started to understand the relationships between living things and their environments. It is helpful to think of an ecosystem as a woven carpet; if you pull on a loose thread it might only affect the thread and those closest to it or it might unravel the whole carpet.
Biodiversity also helps us in our day-to-day lives. Unfortunately, the greenhouse gases produced by human activities are building up in the atmosphere and causing climate change. Climate change is a major threat to biodiversity.
Climate change affects air and ocean temperatures, the length of seasons, sea levels, the pattern of ocean and wind currents, levels of precipitation, as well as other things. These changes affect the habitats and behaviour of many different species. Many will not be able to adapt fast enough and may become extinct.
There are many things that you can do to combat climate change. Planting deciduous trees on the south side of your house or school will keep your house/school cooler in the summer. They will help produce oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. You can also encourage your friends and family to use public transit, carpool and walk or bike when they can.