Biodiversity and One Simple Act
Changing the world begins with you and me. Small actions by each of us add up to make a significant difference for the world. Varity is the spice of life, just like biodiversity is for the health of the planet. It is measured as the variety within species—or genetic diversity—the variety between species, and the variety of ecosystems. There are many actions we can each take to reduce our environmental footprints and help maintain biodiversity.
International Biological Diversity is May 22 every year.
Alberta has a wealth of biodiversity with more than 80,000 species of living in six natural regions. Unparallel population growth and development over recent years have both placed increased pressure on Alberta’s biodiversity. Simple actions have been categorized into the challenges facing biodiversity in Alberta and elsewhere. Together we can make a difference.
I Habitat Degradation and Loss
The greatest threat to biodiversity in Canada is the extensive alteration by people of a number of ecological regions, largely because of competing land uses such as agriculture and urbanization.
- I will plant native species to create a natural habitat for flora and fauna.
- I will learn about noxious weeds in Alberta so I can help to manage the local flora and fauna.
- I will naturalize my lawn and yard. I will plant a variety of flowers and trees in my yard to attract birds and insects.
- I will have a chemical-free yard and garden to keep the soil and water clean. (No fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or insecticides.)
- I will remember that only rain water goes down storm drains to protect the wetlands in the watershed that I live in.
- I will create a pond for habitat.
- I will place a bird bath in my yard for birds and insects.
- I will create other types of habitats by planting nectar flowers, berry bushes, fruit and nut trees.
II Invasive Alien Species
Invasive alien species are also characterized by their ability to reproduce and spread rapidly because they often have no natural predators, or are so well-adapted and aggressive that their populations out compete native species. Worldwide, invasive alien species are considered the second greatest threat to biodiversity after habitat destruction. Invasive alien species are plants that are commonly referred to as noxious weeds, prohibited noxious weeds, aquatic weeds, invasive plants and weeds.
An insidious form of biodiversity depletion occurs through the accidental or intentional introduction of exotic or non-native plant and animal species. Here are some alien species in Alberta: Rock snot algae or “Didymo” (short for Didymosphenia geminata); Eurasion- water Milfoil; zebra and quagga mussles; Gambusia (mosquitofish); Purple loosestrife; Yellow clematis; Himalayan balsam; Wild boar; and even goldfish.
- I will learn about purple loosetrife and will not plant it in my garden.
- I will participate in a Purple Pull (a wetland clean up of purple loosestrife.)
- I will remove exotic species such as purple loosestrife to make room for native plants.
- I will wash my recreational boat after I leave one of Alberta's lakes to prevent the spread of Eurasian Milfoil from one water body to another.
- I will admire and appreciate flora and fauna in other parts of the world instead of bringing a sample home.
- I will place pets into adoption instead of releasing them into the wild.
III Sustainable Use
Sustainable use is largely about using resources wisely so they are available for an indefinite amount of time.
- I will purchase as much food as I can consume so food won't spoil in my fridge.
- I will use leftovers in my meal planning.
- I will practice the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle in that order to decrease my consumption and waste production.
IV Climate Change
Reduce your carbon footprint by using energy wisely.
- I will choose foods that are in season and grown locally more often to decrease their transportation miles.
- I will eat more food lower on the food chain whenever possible. (Mom was right when she said eat your vegetables and fruit.)
- I will reduce my home heating and electricity use. (A more energy-efficient home will lower your utility bills and reduce the emissions that cause climate change. Find out how you can increase energy efficiency in your home through the EnerGuide for Houses program.)
- I will choose energy-efficient appliances. (New refrigerators, for example, use 40 per cent less energy than models made just 10 years ago.)
- I will walk, bike, carpool or take transit to get to one of my regular destinations. (Begin slowly by committing once a week to get in the habit of more frequent greener transportation.)
Helping protect Canada's biodiversity, while encouraging the sustainable use of our biological resources, is a responsibility that all Canadians can share. With our population of more than 34 million people, we can play a role in preserving the immense natural wealth and valuable ecosystems from which we draw significant social, economic and environmental benefits. Bordered by three oceans, the second-largest nation in the world, Canada is rich in biodiversity, and we depend on it for our survival.
- Help End Food Waste
- Aquatic Invasive Species
- Alberta Invasive Species Council
- Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute
- Convention on Biological Diversity
- Canada's Biodiversity Strategy
- Grounds for Change (Schoolyard naturalization)
- Hinterland Who’s Who
- CWF’s Backyard Habitat Certification
- Garden for Wildlife
Resources are available from Alberta Environment and Parks to support school-and-community based educational programs in Alberta.
- Education Resources
- Biodiversity and Land Stewardship
- Species at Risk
- Life. Nature. The Public. Making the Connection: A Biodiversity Communications Handbook - (64 pages, 2.0 MB)
- The Connected Planet: Looking at Biodiversity - (9 pages, 4.5 MB)
- Humane Education: A Foundation for Connecting with All of Earth’s Inhabitants - (6 pages, <1 MB)
- Making Natural Connections: Integrating Social Studies and Science through lessons in ecology, wildlife management and civics - (4 pages, <1 MB)
- Creating Earth Adventures: Self-Guided Programs to Connect Children with Nature - (7 pages, <1 MB)
- Reduce Your Impact - WWF
Updated: Aug 10, 2015