Biodiversity

Biodiversity is defined as "The variety of plant and animal life in the world or in a particular habitat" (1). High biodiversity across animal and plant species is absolutely essential for the stability of ecosystems and food chains (2). However, climate change may threaten these relationships. With warming temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, rising sea levels, and the mass urbanization of our lands, many species are being driven to extinction  (2,3). These effects are now happening faster than many species can adapt (4). Moreover, it is becoming increasingly difficult for species to escape uninhabitable environments due to widespread habitat destruction (2,4). Early estimates suggested that between 15 and 37% of all species on Earth could be severely endangered or extinct by 2050, due to the effects of climate change (5). More recently, a global biodiversity report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) found that at least 25% of the species studied were at least threatened - this correlates to about 1 million species facing extinction (2)

 

Canada is facing declines in biodiversity from climate change too. A 2017 WWF report found that half of all vertebrate species in Canada are declining, and half of those have lost almost 80% of their population since 1970 (6). Further, fish species have declined by 20%, amphibian and reptile populations by 34%, and birds in the Canadian prairies by 55%, primarily as a result of habitat loss (6). The Species at Risk Act, adopted in 2002, aims to prevent extinction of wildlife species; however, currently, funds for protection are limited and protection measures must be unevenly distributed to species (7). This has lead to fears that only economically valuable species such as fish or bees will be protected, while populations of ecologically important species will be left to dwindle (7)

 

The evidence above shows that human activity is endangering many species, in Canada and around the world.  Stable natural food chains and ecosystems rely on a diverse species pool – rapid extinctions have the potential to collapse these  systems (3). Moreover, biodiversity is a vital aspect in our survival as a species: we rely on various species of plants and animals for food; we obtain ingredients for many everyday objects (including shampoos, toothpastes, and medicines) from biological sources; and many people rely on areas of great biodiversity such as coral reefs and jungles for their financial stability . Declining biodiversity is a threat to our environment, our health, and our ways of life (2).

To find out how wildlife populations are being preserved, in Canada and around the world, read our Conservation resource!


About Us

Shake Up The Establishment is a youth-led, registered (#1190975-4) national non-partisan non-profit organization that operates within the geographical confines of what is currently known as "Canada", but what is referred to by its First Peoples, as Turtle Island. Indigenous peoples have inhabited Turtle Island for over 10,000 years, and were the sole inhabitants less than 500 years ago. We acknowledge that our address resides on Treaty 3 land, and is the traditional territory of the Erie, Neutral, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Mississaugas Peoples. Turtle Island is still home to many Indigenous peoples and we at SUTE are thankful to be able to live, learn and work on this territory, whilst continuing to create meaningful change for the climate justice movement. We are aware that our actions as an organization and the work we put out have an impact on our land, and on all that inhabit it. We are humbled to be able to follow the lead of centuries long Indigenous-led efforts towards the protection and stewardship of this land and the people that inhabit it. We are committed to continually evaluating & decolonizing our practices, and we do our best to incorporate the lived experiences of the land defenders and protectors within our work. We also want to honour the voices of Black, and non-Black people of colour within our work, and continually recognize their resiliency in the face of years of systemic oppression as imposed by the Canadian state.

 

Our enterprise is inclusive of all folx who call the geographical confines of what is currently known as Canada, home, and we celebrate the horizontal learning that comes from our diverse identities. As an organization, we will try our utmost best to ensure that only individuals with lived experiences are speaking on behalf of their communities, while still recognizing that Black, Indigenous and communities of colour as well as the LGBTQ2S+ community, are not a monolith. We firmly believe in accountability, and commit to being as transparent as possible in our activism space; to research our topics well, support and centre community care, and minimize any harm, no matter the intent. We have strict policies and procedures to uphold these tenets, and update these on a yearly (or as-needed) basis.

106-325 Winterberry Drive, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8J 0B6

© 2020 Shake Up The Establishment

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