You’ve probably heard the term “biodiversity” before, but you may not be sure what it means and why it’s important to you and your community. So what is it?
Planet Earth is made up of a huge range of different landscapes, from deep ocean trenches to towering mountains. In almost all of these places, you’ll find animals, plants, algae, fungi and microbes that have adapted to live there; all these species interact with each other and with the environment to form a living network or ecosystem. Biodiversity refers to the variety of living things that you would expect to find in a particular ecosystem.
Biodiversity is under threat everywhere, and mostly from the pressures we humans put on it. Worldwide, millions of people are moving into cities, agriculture is becoming more intensive and we don’t pay enough attention to the needs of nature and the services it provides for us. While most people know of the dangers facing species in so-called “biodiversity hotspots” such as rainforests, native species in Europe are under threat too. The Let It Grow campaign aims to help turn the fortunes of nature around across the continent, through three levels of activity:
- Raising awareness within citizens on what is biodiversity and why having a full range of native species can help keep ecosystems healthy for all forms of life including humans.
- Helping people to set up “left spaces” balconies, terraces, gardens and community spaces to give native species the chance to recover and thrive.
- Measuring biodiversity across the continent, so that we have a clear picture of how native species are doing, and can provide evidence to support everyone working to secure a future for nature in Europe.
The campaign is being organised by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), the European network of science centres and museums (Ecsite) and Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) – three associations which unite some of the most progressive science engagement, conservation and research institutions in the world. We decided to work together towards a common target, to enhance the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s AICHI Target 1, namely that “By 2020, at the latest, people are aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably.”
Between us we have a lot of expertise to share, but we need your help to inform and involve as many people as possible!
If you are:
- a member of the public who wants to learn more about biodiversity, and maybe set up a left space, check the map on the home page to find your closest participating institution.
- a member of EAZA, Ecsite or BGCI who wants to sign up for the campaign, please go to the Join The Campaign page.
This campaign, with your help, is going to be huge – simply put, the biggest campaign to support European biodiversity in our communities ever attempted!
Get involved – LET IT GROW!