“If every known species on Earth were a leaf on a tree, the tree would have 1,750,000 leaves. Humans count for just one leaf on this Tree of Life.”
– Tree of Life: The Incredible Biodiversity of Life on Earth by Rochelle Strauss, published by Kids Can Press
What do tiny bacteria, people and plants all have in common? Each one is an interconnected part of the web of life. And each part of that web depends–in some way or another–on the other parts to survive.
Biodiversity is the word used to denote the incredible variety of life on Earth. With almost two million different species of life on our planet, it’s easy to lull ourselves into complacency thinking the disappearance of a few thousand or so can’t really matter all that much. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Because of life’s amazing interconnectedness, scientists now know that every species has a part to play in sustaining others. So it’s important that as Earth’s guardians, people take care to nurture and defend life in all its variety.
Here are some suggestions from Tree of Life: The Incredible Biodiversity of Life on Earth for how to do so:
- Promote the wonder of nature at home and in the classroom. Take field trips to parks, conservation centers, local ravines and museums.
- Incorporate biodiversity into everyday rituals. Invite children into the garden with you. Engage children in discussions about purchases and explore more environmentally responsible choices. In the classroom, work nature into everything you study.
- Open a dialogue about nature and the environment that allows children to explore and experiment with their own thoughts and feelings.