Essay 3: Why Should We Preserve Biodiversity? Subject: The biodiversity of the Earth has been the subject of much speculation and research.
Essay 3: Why Should We Preserve Biodiversity?
Subject: The biodiversity of the Earth has been the subject of much speculation and research.
Estimates of the number of species range from the thousands to tens of millions (even over 100 million!). In recent years, researchers have attempted to estimate the potential number of species on Earth, pointing out that some taxa are better categorized than others, which helps direct where future research on biodiversity should go.
Another set of researchers have concerned themselves with trying to figure out how to preserve biodiversity in the face of human pressures, such as land use change and resource consumption. E.O. Wilson has coined the term “biophilia”, which he defines as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life.” Additionally, Should we preserve biodiversity simply because it exists (existential reason), or for utilitarian purposes
(e.g., food or as a source of anti-bacterial compounds), or because we want to preserve ecosystem functioning, and in turn, human civilization, which depends on the complex interactions among all organisms?
Read the articles below and provide a comment on why you think we should (or should not!) preserve biodiversity.
Is there a moral or ethical justification for doing so? How much effort (and money) should humans devote to preserving biodiversity? What do you think are the major impediments to preserving biodiversity and how should we overcome such resistance?
Short articles for background reading (read in order for best understanding):
The 8 Million Species We Don’t Know by E.O. Wilson, NY Times, March 3, 2018. Click HERE.
Selling the Protected Area Myth by Richard Conniff, NY Times, June 9, 2018. Click HERE.
Biodiversity Hotspots for Conservation Priorities by Norman Myers et al. Nature 403:853-858
(2000). Click HERE.
Directions: Firstly, provide a 500 word, double-spaced, 12 pt font, and response. Secondly, make sure your essay has a concluding sentence that sums up the main arguments in your essay. Also, Leave the reader (me!) with a take home message that sticks! If any concepts are unclear to you, or you have “writer’s block”, come see me and I’ll jump start you on your essay.
Grading of the Essay: 75% on content and 25% on grammar/syntax. Be sure to answer the questions poised above! If you don’t, I will take off your grade. I look forward to seeing your opinions on this subject!