The Question of Reducing the Loss of Biodiversity:
Biological diversity is a vital resource upon which we all depend. Biodiversity supports the health of our planet and so has a direct impact on all our lives. A loss of biodiversity means that millions of people could face a future where crops are more vulnerable to pests or disease and where fresh, clean water is in short supply.
Huge progress has been made in understanding how loss of biodiversity impacts us, and from this research six statements can be made:
- Diverse communities are more productive since they contain key species which increase efficiency, and different kinds of organism use different resources, leading to an increased total resource usage.
- The loss of biodiversity reduces the efficiency by which organisms capture nutrients, water, light, prey, produce biomass, decompose and recycle essential nutrients.
- Biodiversity increases the stability of ecosystem functions through time
- The impact of biodiversity on ecosystems is unpredictable: change quickens as biodiversity loss increases.
- Research has shown that food web interactions are key in ensuring that an ecosystem functions. The impact of the loss of higher consumers can be felt through a food web and can even influence plant biomass.
- The diversity of organisms leads to a wide range of plausible impacts of extinction on ecosystem function. The extent of change to which the way ecosystems function, following extinction, depends greatly on which biological traits are lost.
The Question of Electronic Waste Disposal:
Disposing of e-waste is a rapidly growing global concern. While the developed world has consumed the largest share of the more than one billion personal computers sold, the less-developed countries have tended to pay the environmental price. Cheap labour and laid-back environmental laws have created an e-waste path from the developed world to Asia and Africa, where many of the digital discards are sent for reprocessing. Workers often take the computers and their toxic monitors apart with no protection from such hazardous substances as lead, cadmium, or beryllium, and that can negatively impact their health and pollute their land and water. An international accord known as the Basel Convention has banned the export of such hazardous waste to poorer countries, but the practice continues.