Biodiversity is the all-encompassing variety of life on Earth. Consisting of animals, plants and habitats, biodiversity is essential for our everyday needs including water, air, shelter, food and medicine.

There are three essential levels of biodiversity - genetic diversity, species diversity and ecosystem diversity. Biodiversity encompasses every living thing, including organisms so small we can’t even see them.

All living species are dependent on ecosystems and other species to survive. Healthy ecosystems create sustained life for many species, including humans. These ecosystems and all the species that inhabit them are necessary for the stability of Earth.

Essentially, biodiversity is life.

As humans, we rely on biodiversity for several reasons. Ecological life support (oxygen, purified water, pollination, pest control, and many other services) is the most important but there are also cultural, scientific, economic (consumption and production of raw materials), and recreational benefits.

Humans have altered and destabilised numerous ecosystems over the last century, leading to a dramatic loss in biodiversity. This destruction has led to climate change, loss of species, habitat loss, pollution, depleted resources, and the introduction of invasive species. As we consume more raw materials and impact more ecosystems, we are further destroying the biodiversity of Earth.

This is impacting the well being of all species, including ourselves.

While changes in biodiversity can seem overwhelming and dystopian, the good news is we have the power to make changes to protect and give back to the Earth.

Here are five things that you can do now to help:

1. Create a nature corner in your backyard, or on your patio. Encourage native plants to grow while leaving the area free from pesticides and other chemicals. Soon you will notice amazing insects and birds feeding and sheltering in your garden.

2. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. You’ve heard it all before, but it does help. Be sure to check out your local recycling centre website for information on what and how you can recycle effectively. When purchasing products, be aware of the packaging it comes in, if it can be recycled or even better, if it is compostable.

3. Go local when purchasing produce and other products. Supporting your local farmers helps limit the distance your food travels before it hits your plate.

4. Educate yourself on biodiversity. You're already off to a great start by reading this blog, so well done! Keep feeding your knowledge about the natural environment. Educating yourself and others about the importance of biodiversity is a great way to get the conversation going as awareness leads to action.

5. Get involved in your community. There are many amazing community groups out there that you can be a part of. We at WED Fest believe that community groups are an essential part of environmental activism. Follow along on this blog and on our social media to find out more about some local community groups doing incredible work.

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World Environment Day Festival is brought to you by Sunshine Coast Environment Coucil