We have known for a while that awareness is a crucial step towards dealing with environmental issues. I spent some time thinking about what exactly it means to be aware of a growing problem. We are constantly bombarded with information about impending doom on our environment. How do we keep track of it all, and what happens to the information after?
The preservation of biodiversity is an issue that I am extremely passionate about, but it took me a while to realize that plausible solutions cannot stem from awareness alone. Awareness should bring acceptance and initiative into the picture, making clear what steps might help alleviate the problem and how different sections of society fit into the proposed solutions.
We have all heard about the environmental mantra “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” regarding waste management. I thought a similar triad should be created for issues of biodiversity conservation calling us to extend our contributions past awareness alone. These are I’s of Biodiversity I proposed:
Inform: The first step is to educate ourselves on specific issues concerning biodiversity, such as endangered or invasive species. Make it personal; look up plant and animal species that are of interest to you or are in your local communities. Learn about the most pressing issues that government agencies and educational institutes are building research on.
Initiate: Next, we should think about what steps might support proposed solutions. What are things we can do everyday to alleviate the problem? Take initiative; look up organizations that propose interesting solutions through their research. A little tip: Look for “volunteer” sections on their website. Get your friends or school clubs involved and try to volunteer a little of your time towards the specific cause.
Impact: I thought the last of the triad should re-iterate the motto of The Starfish; that any and every step can make a difference. With each initiative, we add to a global impact. It is important to remember that biodiversity issues are complex and involve intricate relationships between species of our biosphere. They can often take a lot of time to resolve, and results are not usually seen immediately. Despite this, time and patience are silent collaborators that can help our initiative.
So, there it is – the three I’s of Biodiversity. I challenge you all to keep them in mind, give them a try this summer and keep me posted. Initiate yourself!