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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Why the loss of biodiversity should matter to every Human being

 . Some of the world's least developed countries are located in hotspot areas of high importance for biodiversity. This map displays Human Development Index (UNDP) by country and hotspot regions overlaid on that.

My dear visitor, if you do not concern yourself with news concerning the loss of biodiversity on our planet, then it is time you did concern yourself. The reason I am saying this is due to an article I have read at the Scientific America website entitled:
"Humans are more at risk from diseases as biodiversity disappears, written by John Platt.

In this article John Platt states the following:

"Healthy biodiversity is essential to human health. As species disappear, infectious diseases rise in humans and throughout the animal kingdom, so extinctions directly affect our health and chances for survival as a species."

If this statement does not move you to worry about the biodiversity of life on our planet,then nothing will! To make sure we are all on the same page, here is a definition of biodiversity I hope you all can accept as reasonable:

 "Biodiversity is the totality of genes, species, and ecosystems in a region... Biodiversity can be divided into three hierarchical categories -- genes, species, and ecosystems -- that describe quite different aspects of living systems and that scientists measure in different ways.

Genetic diversity refers to the variation of genes within species. This covers distinct populations of the same species (such as the thousands of traditional rice varieties in India) or genetic variation within a populations (high among Indian rhinos, and very low among cheetahs)...

Species diversity refers to the variety of species within a region. Such diversity can be measured in many ways, and scientists have not settled on a single best method. The number of species in a region -- its species "richness" -- is one often- used measure, but a more precise measurement, "taxonomic diversity", also considers the relationship of species to each other. For example, an island with two species of birds and one species of lizard has a greater taxonomic diversity than an island with three species of birds but no lizards...

Ecosystem diversity is harder to measure than species or genetic diversity because the "boundaries" of communities -- associations of species -- and ecosystems are elusive. Nevertheless, as long as a consistent set of criteria is used to define communities and ecosystems, their numbers and distribution can be measured..."

Source: World Resources Institute, World Conservation Union, and United Nations Environment Programme, "Global Biodiversity Strategy," 1992:

To read the entire article written by John Platt, please click on the following link:

What can a person do to help maintain the biodiversity of life on our planet?
Please visit the following websites to learn what you can do to maintain the earth's biodiversity: 

In regards to understanding the  Map at the top of this blog post, here are some of the key facts. Firstly, "the Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite statistic used to rank countries by level of "human development" and separate developed (high development), developing (middle development), and underdeveloped (low development) countries. The statistic is composed from data on life expectancy, education and per-capita GDP (as an indicator of standard of living) collected at the national level using the formula given in the Methodology section below. There are also HDI for states, cities, villages, etc. by local organizations or companies. "
Starting with the 2010 report the HDI combines three dimensions:
  • A long and healthy life: Life expectancy at birth
  • Access to knowledge: Mean years of schooling and Expected years of schooling
  • A decent standard of living: GNI per capita (PPP US$)
    To see how all of these variables interact I suggest you look at the chart at this website:
    as a means of seeing how they are combined into a HDI index: 

The HDI is a statistical measure, you can see the mathematics involved in this measure by going to this website: 

This website shows some of the highest and lowest Human Development Index ratings for countries in our World as of this year: 

The 2010 Human Development index was just released two days ago. You can read about this by going to the following website: 

An individual can act to ensure that the biodiversity of our planet is preserved. Please follow some of the suggestions (particularly  at this website: which I mentioned above).

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.