Numbers to Know: Biodiversity

The term biodiversity is a verbal “mashup” of the words biological and diversity. It’s used to describe the variety of life on our planet.

But life – in all its wonderful variation – is being hit hard by the globe’s ever-growing human population and our lack of sufficient care for our environment. Species – by the thousands – are being lost. And when they’re lost, we are all affected, although the poor are often hardest hit.

In December 2011, the United Nations launched the Decade on Biodiversity (2011–2020). The decade is said to mark the most ambitious international effort our world has ever seen “to stem the tide of species loss and ecosystem destruction.”

Just how serious is that loss? Here are a few statistics from the U.N.

-42% of amphibian species and 40% of bird species are declining in population
-23% of plant species are threatened
-Over 75% of the world’s fish stocks are either fully exploited or over-exploited
-17% of the Amazon is deforested
-Over 170 countries have developed national biodiversity strategies and action plans

For more information and ideas on how you can make a difference, watch this United Nations Decade on Biodiversity Official Video.

“Ultimately, we are all an integral part of the web of life.”
— United Nations Decade on Biodiversity Official Video

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