How does climate change affect biodiversity?

This post will address a general question that I hear from many curious people: “How climate change is affecting biodiversityโ€. Letโ€™s understand what exactly is biodiversity. In other words, Biodiversity refers to any life form that has existed or exists on Earth. As you might assume from this word, every living thing, from humans to organisms, together makes up biodiversity. The relationships, cultural links, the lands and seascapes we live on, and even the animals we live with all play a role in maintaining a healthy, diverse, and intact planet. We can collectively refer to this as biodiversity.

Climate change impacts ecological processes in marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems. Impacts can be measured on multiple processes at different levels of biological organization within ecosystems. In total, 82% of 94 ecological processes show evidence of being affected by climate change. Within levels of the organization, the percentage of processes impacted varies from 60% for genetics to 100% for species distribution.
Source: Science.org

Biodiversity is critical to virtually every aspect of our lives. In other words, we value biodiversity for both โ€“ its benefits to humankind and for the inherent value that it has. Humans obtain many essential needs from biodiversities, such as food, fuel, shelter, and medicine. It also provides important benefits such as the concentration of seeds, regulating climate, purifying water, cycling nutrients, and even controlling agricultural pests. Just to give you more perspective to think even broader on this is that Biodiversity has cultural value as well to humans, like for spiritual or religious reasons, for instance, this is more of a philosophical concept, but in its entirety, this is important to keep in mind.

The science talk: Biodiversity

Now everything that we do locally, or nationally has global impacts when it comes to biodiversity. For example, when we drive a car locally or take a flight from one city to another within our own country, that will definitely have its contribution towards the increase in Greenhouse has globally.

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I guess if this topic interests you, this Biodiversity statistics will definately facinate you. Follow this link: https://ourworldindata.org/biodiversity

One of the most obvious myths about greenhouse gases is the idea that it’s just carbon dioxide. But they are much more than that, they include water vapor, methane, ozone, and nitrogen oxides, as well. But of course, to understand how climate change will affect biodiversity, it is wise to first focus on carbon, as it is the primary culprit.

It is mostly the burning of fossil fuels that increases the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. These fuels not only emit heat energy, but also carbon dioxide. Energy is actually what we want, and carbon dioxide is merely a by-product of that process. So, let’s get to once more step ahead to understand this, when the sunlight enters our atmosphere it arrives as short wave-length radiation, like Gamma, X-Rays, UVs. Basically, these radiations are the primary source of factors to drive Earthโ€™s climate.

The relasion of Biodiversity and Greenhouse gases

Apparently, when the sunlight hits the surface of the earth, some of it is absorbed and some get reflected back in the form of slightly longer wavelength radiations. These longer wavelength radiations are commonly referred to as heat from sunlight. Some of this heat energy goes back into space, but some of it is trapped due to greenhouse gases. Therefore, the more gas you have, the more heat you trap in the atmosphere.

This doesnโ€™t mean that we can live without greenhouse gases. Many organisms require a reasonable amount of greenhouse gases to survive, even for plantations. But this increasing greenhouse gas is affecting the temperature. 

Examples of global declines in nature, emphasizing declines in biodiversity, that
have been and are being caused by direct and indirect drivers of change. Source

However, what does this mean for biodiversity? First of all, it will mean that low-altitude places like the Maldives, the Netherlands, New Orleans, etc will disappear. That means their habitats and the species living in them will extinct.

The effect of climate change on biodiversity

The optimal habitat and temperature range for each species depend on different factors. That means there are many organisms that cannot adapt to this change. IPCC, or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has just released its most recent report. They have estimated that global temperatures will increase by about 1.1 degrees Celsius to 2.9 degrees celsius, on average. This change can have a devastating impact on us and our biodiversity. Some humans, animals, and some sea life may migrate to a bit colder region for their survival but think about forests, mountains, and those organisms for whom the migration is not an option. Even for humans, in a lot of cultures, people are willing to die rather than leave their homeland.

Our environment and Ecosystems are already showing negative impacts under the current levels of climate change, which I would say is modest in comparison to the future projected changes. There will be more intense warming temperatures, more frequent extreme weather events, unacceptable changes in rainfall patterns, severe droughts.

We should at least be concerned about ourselves if we do not care about anything else. From our diet, to how we live, where we live, to our sleep, climate change will affect everything. The effects will extend to our psychological, emotional, and conscious well-being as well.

Closing Note: Climate Change & Biodiversity

The food which is giving us nutrition, proteins, and vitamins, change over time and may become dangerous for consumption. The meat, that we consume will no more be suitable for eating. The snow-falls that we observe, will change into hot zones. Excessively, we will witness life-threatening viruses, diseases, infections, and pandemics.

All of these statements will slowly and gradually become evident as we will move towards our total destruction.

We still have a chance to save our humanity, our biodiversity from the impacts of climate change. And everything depends on how you act now.

Would you like to connect & have a talk?

My daily life involves interacting with different people in order to understand their perspectives on Climate Change, Technology, and Digital Transformation.

If you have a thought to share, then let’s connect!

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