Claire: Well, what did you learn at school today?
Cóilín: I learnt a lot about biodiversity.
Claire: Biodiversity? What the devil is that?
Cóilín: That’s what keeps us alive and protects us.
Claire: But what is it?
Cóilín: The diversity of life around us, from the smallest insect to the largest mammal.
Claire: And how does that keep us alive?
Cóilín: We all depend on each other.
Claire: Oh! Like the old proverb, “No man is an island”.
Cóilín: Exactly, but remember to include insects, animals and birds too.
Claire: What about them? Sure we don’t harm them.
Cóilín: We get rid of their habitats when trees are cut down for example.
Claire: But isn’t it in America that they are getting rid of rain forests in favour of farming?
Cóilín: In Ireland too, we left little wild animals homeless in order to build motorways and housing estates in the recent past.
Claire: Hm! And we didn’t need half of them. Aren’t they talking about knocking some ghost estates?
Cóilín: That’s it. No proper planning.
Claire: People don’t think. Do you know that I read that pollution and litter thrown around kills about a million seabirds every year and it is the same for animals.
Cóilín: My God!
Claire: And things are set to get worse as result of this global warming.
Claire: If the world heats up one or two more degrees, habitats of certain species will change so much that the species will become extinct.
Cóilín: Oh! I heard that the polar bear is in danger as a result of melting polar ice caps.
Claire: Do you know that biodiversity is worth 2.6 billion a year to the economy?
Cóilín: Are you joking?
Claire: Not at all.
Cóilín: I suppose you are right because the earthworm is worth a billion and pollination 52 million.
Claire: Sure, we couldn’t afford to lose that.
Cóilín: We need to start minding our eco systems. They provide us with fresh air to breathe, food, medicine, fuel, protection from erosion and flooding, recycling, nice places to play or relax. There is no limit to the goodness of biodiversity.
Claire: If that’s the case we need to start paying attention and think positively about biodiversity.
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