The Effect of Globalization on Biodiversity
The emergence of negative globalization effects on biodiversity was detected in the 1970s. It was displayed in the overuse and overexploitation of resources of the environment due to the increased demand for the products and services. in an effort to accommodate the ever expanding population the increased deforestation has led to the extinction of habitats and various plant and animal species. Human activity is the biggest culprit to the loss of biodiversity. Corporations have become profit oriented and are showing little concern for the destructive nature that their plans of action are having on the environment.
Governments have come up with various measures to ensure the conservation of the environment, the protection of the remaining plant and wildlife and has stiff penalties for corporations that are seen to manipulate the system by taking short cuts and eventually having disastrous results.
Globalization is a term that has in the past decade received a lot of attention especially on the political fields and in the media. Many are not aware of the meaning of the word globalization. Primarily, it is a term used to flow in commerce, communication, technologies and so forth that are binding the countries on an international level. The movement of goods and services creates a situation in which the economies of different countries are connected. This has been going on for years but in recent times the magnitude at which the movement has been seen to grow is of enormous proportions. It has changed what was meant as a mean to create a market for goods and services on an international level. Industrialized countries continue to thrive at the expense of the developing countries that have become dependent on the market created by these central markets. Globalization has far reaching consequences, it links even the furthest of locations in a way that it can shape the happenings in one place based on events taking place thousands of miles away, and the reverse is true (Giddens, 1990).
Globalization has effected not only the culture and economy but also the biological composition of the environment. Biodiversity is the variation in the living organisms within a given ecosystem (Gaston, 2004). Biodiversity has decreased due to the human activity in the environment and it has come to be negatively associated with globalization. The effects of globalization on the environment are not all known but some of the most common that are experienced at a global level include: the changes in climate patterns, the loss of indigenous animal and plant life, increased water and air pollution, decrease in the number of water catchment areas, the exhaustion of the resources (Ehrenfeld, 2003). Although the generation of globalization was meant to create a global link and provide a market for the various economies, it is clear that the engineers of the system did not look at the adverse effects that the global connection would have on the environment and the biological composition. Various anti-globalization groups have joined forces in an effort to educate the public on the effects that this system is having on the environment.
Effects of Globalization
The Loss of Biodiversity
One of the effects of globalization is the acute decline in the variety in the agricultural sector. Nowadays corporations buy out seed companies and in an effort to increase sales they shut down many of them leaving only those that are yielding profits for the company. This has brought to the extinction of various varieties of crops. A survey, conducted in the United States, showed that in the years of 1981-98, there was a significant decline in the variety of non-hybrid vegetable seeds such as broccoli, beets, and garden peas. This has caused the rise in new hybrids that, however, took place in the pre-existing private varieties because it was caused by the profit-making objectives and it was not the result of alternative breeding efforts (Tor-Bjorn, 2001).
Reduced Indigenous Plant Species Diversity
Such is the case for those nations who rely heavily on agriculture as their source of income. Due to the influence brought about by globalization, many farmers have taken up to plant new breeds of seeds that are more commercially viable and doing away with the indigenous more environment friendly varieties. The seed corporations have taken it upon themselves to introduce their more profitable seeds which influences the economy in general. Such is the case in India today where the last decades they have grown over 20,000 different rice varieties. This situation if not addressed will lead to the country’s rice variety decrease to 50 and adversely affect the production.
Increased top soil erosion affects the agricultural production of any area. Top soil contains all the necessary nutrients that enable the seed to grow and give a good harvest. Due to climate change, the erosion of soil has resulted in less bountiful harvests and the destruction of the soil composition by the use of harsh chemicals has made a bad situation even worse. When such processes take place for some period of time, the area becomes not viable for plant life and the land becomes barren. It will no longer support the indigenous life or any other life. Affected by the erosion this chemically treated soil will be removed to the watercourses polluting them and affecting the marine life.
Reduction of Indigenous Animal Species
The globalization causes the extinction of indigenous breed of cattle and water buffalo. Many of the indigenous breeds have adapted to the harsh climates of their environment a good example being the black snout pigs of Haiti. Their adaptation meant that these animals did not require too much maintenance and this was helpful to the community. The introduction of a new breed form the United States caused the death of millions of the black snout pigs. This new breed required a high level of maintenance which resulted in a loss of state money. This is the example of the negative impact that is associated with the globalization. The introduction of a new breed made farmers spend their earned money in a bid to upkeep these animals and it forced children to quit school as there was no money to sustain them there.
The Loss of Forested Land
The loss of forested land due to the human activity is another effect of globalization. Taking the example of Quebec, Canada; forest contribution was about 1% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. In the year 1991, some 2400 square kilometers of forest were cut down for production purposes and out of this, only about 1000 square kilometers were replanted. Such is the trend in both developed and developing countries. Forests play a significant role in affecting the climate change of a country being that they are a water catchment area. The logging down of trees without replacing them causes the disruption of the balance in the habitat. Industries that use these trees pollute the environment. A dense forest cover will take years to grow as will restoration of the barren land into a productive one.
Global warming is on an all-time increase due to the changing climate as a result of human activity. Dangerous ultra violet rays are finding their way into Earth as a result of the degrading ozone layer. These rays are not only fatal to human beings but to the animal and plant species as well. The extreme weather conditions such as floods and storms are the result of too much rain and snow. There is an increase of droughts especially in areas that have experienced the deforestation. Emissions of carbon dioxide and methane and other dangerous gases to the environment form both the industries and burning fuels have contributed to the destruction of the ozone layer (Klein et al, 1995).
Exhaustion of the Resources
The exhaustion of the resources due to their overexploitation has caused a disruption in the balance in nature ; humans use plant and animal life turning its value into a profit. When there are significant returns of using the natural resources, it results in more and more people turning to the trade and this creates a competition for the resource. No time will be given to allow the repopulation of either the animal or the plant to take place and this will lead to the misuse of even those resources that are not fully developed. The demand on the supplies leads to the extinction of species and unhealthy competition that lacks adequate knowledge.
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Global activism has played a significant role in seeking solutions for the calamity that the globe faces. The culprit of loss of biodiversity is an enormous consumption, and so various groups have come up with eco labels which enables the consumers to be aware of the products and service they purchase. As of 2000 there were over 400 different Eco labels. These labels were aimed to give information on which products are safe for the environment and will in the long run provide sustainability for the ecosystem. Globally respected eco labels include:
The United States department of agriculture has the USDA Organic Certification system. This label is used to certify that the processed raw and fresh produce are up to standard, that any form of petroleum fertilizers have not been used and that the animals slaughtered were fed organic feed and were not subject to growth hormones or any other form of genetic modification. This certification program will extend to toiletries and cosmetics if they have been approved and meet the USDA standards.
The Fair Trade Certification
The Fair Trade Certification is used to reassure farmers that their produce receives a fair share. It allows for the maintenance of a well-balanced eco system. It certifies grain, fruits and vegetables. It will also certify clothing and beauty products so as not to allow for dangerous chemicals have long term effects on the consumers.
Energy Star is an eco-label for energy proficient products. The products that are licensed under this label are such that they provide the necessary service to the consumer and are energy efficient there by saving the consumer money and time. Products here include electrical appliance, building materials, cooling equipment. It is an international standard for these products.
Other labels include the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network, The Rain Forest Alliance Certification, The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Certification, and The Forest Stewardship Council. All these work in their various capacities to ensure that the environment is protected by offering alternative ways of manufacturing and maximizing the efficiency. They aid in educating the masses on the importance of conservation and the dangers that pollution poses not only for the generation at present but also for the preservation of mankind.
Suggested Methods of Minimization of the Reduction of Biodiversity
The humanity need to put in place environmental effective policies that will seek to protect all areas in order to reduce biodiversity globally and not to focus on one aspect neglecting the others. People should provide the alternatives so as to avoid the overuse of the resources distributing resources across the country and not concentrating in one area. The solutions should be cost effective; the economic activities must not compromise the environmental balance. The Ecosystem-Based Adaptation is one of the approaches that seek to help vulnerable communities to protect their ecosystems that are threatened by a climate change impact. Such communities should be able to discern what will be beneficial to them while protecting their environment.
Loss of biodiversity is a threat to the entire planet. The causes for the loss of biodiversity are climate change, exhaustion and overuse of the resources, invasion and disruption of the eco system, and pollution. There is no possibility to write off or abolish globalization as a whole but countries need to invest in ways and practices that will maintain the habitat conserved and restored. Various sectors of economy should cooperate in a bid to protect the environment (Gaston, 2004). The globalization problems need global solutions to ensure the protection of the ecosystems (Held et. al., 2008).