Nature is replenishing, nature is inspiring, and fundamentally nature - and biodiversity - is our life support system. But we are losing massive amounts of rainforest, grasslands, ocean ecosystems, and everything in between, with species dying right in front of our eyes.
If you want to understand how the biodiversity crisis will affect you and your daily life, just look around. Our world has been flipped upside down by a virus that - like many zoonotic diseases - jumped to humans because we exploited nature in an unhealthy way.
Millions of animals are taken from the wild each year for domestic and international commercial trade in wildlife. Many are used for food, like those in the wildlife markets in China that are suspected of being the source of COVID-19, or for other purposes like traditional medicine, luxury goods, or as pets. 🦍
Some of the wildlife trade is illegal, but the majority is legal. And this occurs everywhere: While China is a large market for wildlife, the U.S., Japan, and Europe (the European Union and the United Kingdom), and many others are as well. The direct exploitation of wild species for food or for other purposes is the second leading driver of global biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse after habitat loss (it’s the leading driver for marine species).
Add to that the horrific conditions in factory farms and slaughterhouses, we've created a recipe for disaster. But we CAN choose to follow a different path. We can choose to eat plants instead of animals. We can choose local or sustainably sourced foods (e.g. avoid palm oil; buy fair-trade, shade grown coffee; both of these products are huge contributors to deforestation). We can support policies and organizations working to protect our natural life support. Be aware. Talk to your friends and family about this. Together we can lift each other - and the planet - up to a more just future!