The Earth is experiencing unprecedented biodiversity loss, which puts our global systems at high risk. This biodiversity loss is largely human-caused, propelled by five key drivers – climate change, land and water use change, pollution of air, water, and land, natural resource use or exploitation, and invasive species.
This summer, Protiviti’s ESG Champions have been sharing tips and tricks on how you can get involved in making the world a more ecologically friendly place. In line with Protiviti’s commitment to our communities, in today’s final installment of our Sustainable Summer Series, we’re talking about biodiversity and a few of the ways we can all contribute to help keep the ecosystems in which we live and work healthy.
While preserving biodiversity sounds like a daunting task, small changes made by individuals can groundswell to more significant collective impact. Below are five ways you can curb your impact to promote biodiversity.
- Revise your diet. Our food systems are the greatest contributor to biodiversity loss, with major impacts coming from land and water use conversion, pollution from pesticides, fertilizers, and other effluents, and contributions to greenhouse gases, like methane from livestock. By the numbers, more than a third of the world’s land surface and nearly 75% of freshwater resources are used to support agricultural production at a huge cost to global ecosystems and biodiversity. Of those lands, over 70% is used for livestock, either for grazing or for growing animal feed, despite meat accounting for less than 20% of global calories. Adopting a mainly plant-based diet can help curb your impact, and, as more people follow suit, will put less pressure on those lands. Additionally, opting for produce farmed through regenerative or low impact techniques can help further reduce the biodiversity impact of your diet.
- Reduce your consumption. Everything you buy is in some way reliant on natural resources which are being depleted at an alarming rate. Before you buy things, ask yourself if you really need it, if there is a lower impact alternative, and understand the potential impacts the product or item has on the environment. In our globalized economy, we are usually disconnected from the impact a certain product has as the materials are likely not sourced in our area. Recreating that awareness can help you make more responsible purchasing decisions and avoid unnecessary items.
- Volunteer. There are many opportunities to get involved with hands-on biodiversity conservation locally or virtually. This can take many forms, like participating in clean-ups, providing tours or other support to local conservation areas, or educating the public on environmental matters. You can also volunteer as a “citizen scientist”, performing various tasks that support research projects aimed at understanding changes to the environment. As an example, employees at Protiviti recently organized an initiative to drive company participation in climate change-related virtual citizen science projects through the platform Zooniverse; which is open to the public!
- Make your home or business a habitat. If your home, apartment, or business has outdoor space, ensure it provides sanctuary for your area’s species. Plant native trees, shrubs, and flowers that are equipped for the conditions of the location and reduce or remove “lawn” spaces. Additionally, incorporate other elements that help support wildlife in your area. This includes things like shelter, places for wildlife to raise young, and reliable water and food sources. This should also include avoiding chemical use and proactively removing any non-native species that may be appearing. Some locations offer landowners the opportunity to certify these locations as wildscapes and claim tax incentives for this distinction!
- Continue efforts to reduce your energy and water use. As climate change and water use change both have significant impacts to biodiversity loss, making reduction efforts in those areas are important. Check out or revisit our posts on energy efficiency and water use reduction within this series for ideas on how you can conserve. If you’ve implemented some of these changes already or have expanded to include other changes that we didn’t include, let us know in the comments below!
We hope you enjoyed our Sustainable Summer blog post series and found the information useful in your own sustainability journey. To expand your positive impact, share these posts with others or talk to your friends, family, and coworkers about these topics!
Learn more about sustainability and ESG efforts at Protiviti from our website.
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