Loss of Biodiversity and Extinction of Plants, Animals, and Other Living Things

Loss of Biodiversity and Extinction

Biodiversity is defined as “the diversity, or variety, of plants and animals and other living things in a particular area or region" (Biodiversity.ca.gov). As PBS notes, "By some estimates, as much as 30 percent of the world's animals and plants could be on a path to extinction within 100 years" (Pbs.org). The extinction rate is significantly high, much higher than we would have predicted just 50 years ago. This loss of biodiversity can be blamed on human activity and comes with a number of costs. The Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology map it out for us: "the world ecological system has been kept in balance through a very complex and multifaceted interaction between a huge number of species. This rapid extinction is therefore likely to precipitate collapses of ecosystems at a global scale. This is predicted to create large-scale agricultural problems, threatening food supplies to hundreds of millions of people" (Shah, Globalissues.org).

This is a social problem because humans are the ones causing this collapse. We consume so much every day. A friend was challenged by her professor to live off of $5 a day for a week. This friend tries her best to not consume too much, knowing the environmental effects. Even still, with her modified lifestyle, she lasted only 3 days. Our constant need for material and food to fulfill our needs must come to an end for our environment to be saved. We must stop feeding into the cycle, of convincing people that the best product on the shelf will fix problems, or that even though the store is down the street, it's okay to drive. We must spread the word that if we continue our lazy, convenient lifestyles we wont have a world to continue them on.

Racism

Despite our legal efforts, to equalize all races, racism is still pertinent in our daily lives. Globalissues.org accurately defines it as "the belief that characteristics and abilities can be attributed to people simply on the basis of their race" (Shah, Globalissues.org). One of the biggest gangs in history, Hitler's Nazis, still exists today in Europe. In Australia the fear of immigrants stealing away jobs for lower wages whites a scapegoat for their issues. America, still affected by the attack on the twin towers, deny Muslim Americans opportunities each and every day. It exists everywhere and is harmful in many ways. Not only are people denied jobs, acceptance, a place in a social community and other opportunities, but also people are still being killed for this today. 

The cause for racism isn't necessarily clear because there are many causes and most are still being debated. I think the biggest factor we must acknowledge is the passing down of these beliefs, or enabling of them. We tend to be racist without even knowing it, or beyond our control. A lot of these stereotypes are passed down through media. For example, the news recently showed a story of a man who had a basement lair to kill, rape, and eat children in, in Worcester. He was a white, middle aged, heavy-set man who looked as if he lacked hygiene. This case is very rare and extreme, and most sex offenders look different from this, but the news shows stereotypical cases because it's what attracts viewers and feeds their fear. Without fear, we wouldn't watch the news as often. Another example is the victim hierarchy. The news would show a theatre shooting during a batman premier because most victims are white, but most people might've missed the Mattapan Massacre or have no idea what that even refers to because all victims and perpetrators were black. The best solution is to question our actions and thoughts and if they are offensive to anyone in any way. Although this takes energy and is a never-ending process, it ensures that everyone is given a fair opportunity

Poverty

"Almost half of the world lives on less than $2.50 a day" (Shah, Globalissues.org). eing extremely poor comes with a lack of food, education, shelter, health care, and many of the daily necessities the other half of the world has. It's a problem because half the world is suffering from malnutrition, disease, and hunger, among many other issues. But, because of the poor's alienation, they lack a voice in society. Many people don't consider their opinion because they come with a stereotype. The stereotype that they are all trash and lack any intelligence. Many have intelligence, but lack the opportunity to practice and refine it. It's a horrible cycle.

It can be caused by a lack of education, alienation from society, the practices of the richer, and many other things. The rich are getting richer, making the poor get even poorer. The economy has forced many cutbacks on aid for those in need. Those with influence, aka the government and corporations, misuse their power, only implementing it to feed their greed for money instead of feeding the hungry. There are so many causes, that it is hard to point a finger at just one, but mostly it is the general attitude towards the poor. Those who are homeless or barely scraping by are usually out-casted by those who may live comfortably. This social alienation forces the outsider to feel isolated, usually leading to violence and/or crime.

Works Cited 

  1. Shah, Anup. "Loss of Biodiversity and Extinctions." : Social, Political, Economic and Environmental Issues That Affect Us All - N.p., 03 Mar. 2013. Web. 30 Sept. 2013. <http://www.globalissues.org/article/165/racism>
  2. Shah, Anup. "Racism." : Social, Political, Economic and Environmental Issues That Affect Us All -. N.p., 08 Aug. 2010. Web. 30 Sept. 2013. <http://www.globalissues.org/article/165/racism>
  3. Shah, Anup. "Causes of Poverty." : Social, Political, Economic and Environmental Issues That Affect Us All - N.p., 24 Mar. 2013. Web. 30 Sept. 2013. < http://www.globalissues.org/issue/2/causes-of-poverty/>
  4. "The Current Mass Extinction." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2013. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/03/2/1_032_04.ht ml>.
  5. "What is Biodiversity?" What Is Biodiversity? State of California, 2008. Web. 30 Sept. 2013. <http://biodiversity.ca.gov/Biodiversity/biodiv_definition.html>