A University of Plymouth academic has published a new book highlighting the grave challenges facing global biodiversity and the actions which need to be taken to preserve it.
Writing in Biodiversity: A Beginner’s Guide, Professor of Marine Zoology John Spicer describes biodiversity as “the variety of life – in all its manifestations”.
However, he says all of that life is under considerable threat from factors ranging from population explosions and habitat destruction, to climate change and mass extinctions.
On a more positive note, he also says that the last year of responding to COVID-19 has shown us that the transformative change is possible.
He also believes that the public appetite for global climate action, which had grown considerably before the COVID-19 pandemic, has the potential to be the catalyst for global change required to avert a prolonged biodiversity crisis.
Published by Oneworld, Biodiversity: A Beginner’s Guide is a revised and updated edition of a book written by Professor Spicer and released in 2006.
One of the few introductory books on the subject aimed at the general reader, it now includes a new section on the Anthropocene and its impact, and is thoroughly updated with research carried out in the 15 years since the original was published.
Professor Spicer says the question is not ‘can we change’ but ‘do we believe we can’ and ‘do we really want to’. He also feels now is the time to act in a year which sees the G7 and COP26 climate change meetings taking place here in the UK, and the launch of the UN Decade of the Oceans. He said:
“More and more, it is becoming clear that no matter who you are, biodiversity matters. Literally your life depends on it. And that’s why it’s worth knowing about. We are in the midst of a biodiversity crisis. We cannot avert that crisis. But we can do something.