For people who say they’re not an environmentalist or that they’re not concerned with the Earth this might be an interesting question. What has an ecosystem done for you lately? The response is…a lot. Have you breathed any air today? Have you used water to drink, cook or bathe with? Have you eaten food grown in soil? I could go on, but you get the point. Now, the next question is this. How much are those things worth to you? Do you suppose you could get by without air, water or soil? The answer is a resounding no. I personally believe in saving ecosystems because I think they have intrinsic value and because it is the right thing to do. But the fact is humans rely on these ecosystems being healthy and diverse. If we want to SURVIVE as a species it is vitally important that we do all we can to keep these systems healthy. Another way to look at ecosystems is to see them as services. Ecosystem services is a term coined by a Stanford conservation biologist Gretchen Daily in the book Nature’s Services: Societal Dependence on Natural Ecosystems. These systems also regulate climate, flood control and removing toxins from our environment that are harmful to us. We need to view these services as a resource. According to an article I just read 60% of the worlds ecosystems are so degraded that they are no longer providing real benefit to humans. 60% is a big scary number when you consider how fast the human population is growing and how that just puts more stress on those ecosystems.
Ultimately we need our legislators and our business owners to be concerned about our ecosystems and realize the economic value of them. It’s up to all of us to help the policy makers and corporations realize that we should all care. Use your voice and buying power. Write letters and express your concern. We can make a difference.