Seacology Joins the International Year of Biodiversity
In 2010, Seacology joins the United Nations and many international conservation organizations as a partner of the "International Year of Biodiversity," with the purpose of celebrating and safeguarding the variety of life on earth. Working within this worldwide network, we hope to highlight the importance of preserving biodiversity, and particularly the ecological richness found on islands where Seacology works.
Coined by Seacology's own scientific advisor, Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson, "biodiversity" literally means the variety of life. The richness and great breadth of all plant, animal, fungi, and other life on earth have evolved to exist in an elegant balance, with each organism fulfilling its own niche. All species live, use, and interact with other life forms--to such an extent that our planet is a massive web of biological relationships, and we are hardly aware of the countless plants and animals on which our survival depends.
Preserving the world's biodiversity is important for several reasons:
- Although scientists have identified approximately 1.75 million species, millions more remain undiscovered--estimates range from 3 to 100 million total species. Undoubtedly, many of these life forms contain valuable resources and information for humans--from cancer-fighting plants to ant-inspired lessons on community, there is much to be gained from our fellow creatures.
- Species themselves are highly interdependent. While most of us would be reluctant to see the formidable sea turtle become extinct, few realize that its existence is dependent on less glamorous mollusks and crustaceans that are currently threatened by overfishing, pollution, and climate change. Saving one species requires protecting the entire ecosystem in which they live.
- Beyond their tangible benefit to humans and other species, all life forms have inherent dignity and value. Protecting biodiversity ensures the continued survival of all the earth's creatures, and the health of our planet as a whole.
Why has Seacology joined the Year of Biodiversity? Isolated by vast oceans, island environments often develop specialized ecosystems highly sensitive to variations in climate as well as introduced species, pollution and other challenges. The extinction crisis facing ecosystems around the world is most threatening on islands, where over 75 percent of recent animal extinctions have occurred, and the coral reef, mangrove forests, and rainforests that host these fragile flora and fauna are now among the planet's most imperiled environments.
Seacology's mission is to preserve the biodiversity on these fragile islands. We achieve this goal with our innovative and community-based model of conservation, which elicits the support of islanders themselves in protecting their natural environment. In the International Year of Biodiversity, Seacology joins with the United Nations and other conservation organizations to celebrate and protect biodiversity on islands and in other ecosystems worldwide.