Day 12

Biodiversity

SPONSORED BY ANNIE’S HOMEGROWN

The Story of Stuff Project
Guayaki
EcoWatch

OVERVIEW

“We’ve decimated our forests, wildlands, polluted and overfished our rivers and oceans; all the key ecosystems that not only serve as a home to our planet’s biodiversity, but also make life here for us possible.”
– Leonardo DeCaprio, Actor & Environmentalist

On a small scale, you can see biodiversity within a single ecosystem, like a creek, a community garden, or even your body! Biodiversity exists in a number of forms, so let’s take a look at how it operates. There are three levels of biodiversity; biodiversity in ecosystems, biodiversity in species, and biodiversity in genetics.

Biodiversity in ecosystems is the variety of habitats across our globe that include deserts, forests, grasslands, and marine environments. An example of ecosystem biodiversity would be the forests in Northern California (the ones that are burning this month) compared to the forests in New Hampshire. From the types of trees, to the animals in the forests, even the rainfall — each ecosystem is unique. Not only do these make a continent or country interesting to visit but they keep our planet in balance.

Biodiversity in species is the variety of species within an ecosystem. Example of tree species would be: redwoods, oaks, willows, evergreens, and palm trees. This variety helps ecosystems adjust to disturbances like extreme weather. It is important to have many different species of predators, prey, and plants in an ecosystem so that if one species dies off, the whole system is not thrown out of whack.

Biodiversity in genetics means that within a species, there is a lot of different traits or genetics. This keeps a species from going extinct. The common practice of monoculture crops put food sources like bananas at a higher risk of dying out. Monoculture means a cultivation of a single crop in a given area, significantly reducing the genetic variety. This practice makes crop much more vulnerable to disease. The natural alternative is polyculture, which is when more than one crop is grown in the same space at the same time. Practices like permaculture create genetic abundance and benefit people and the planet.

Identifying species and understanding their intricate relationships is a significant challenges, but biodiversity is one of the most powerful pieces of our planet; it literally shapes our world.

Extinction may seem like only a worry for the dinosaurs, but right now our planet is experiencing a sixth mass extinction! Dozens of species are going extinct every day. Global biodiversity has declined 50% in the past 40 years. We have lost half of all species on Earth, in a geologic blink of an eye.

Why has this mass extinction been happening? Unlike previous mass extinctions, the current loss of biodiversity is caused almost entirely by human activity. This looks like habitat loss such as deforestation and urban expansion, the spread of invasive species, and of course, climate change, all of which have dramatically reduced the earth’s biodiversity. When biodiversity is diminished, ecosystems can’t function as effectively, putting all of our lives are put at risk.

Our biodiversity crisis has put a tremendous pressure on the most vital organisms on the planet: pollinators (such as bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and bats) These types of animals transfer pollen from one plant to another, allowing plants – including the fruits and vegetables we eat daily – to reproduce and thrive. Bees and other pollinators are responsible for one in every three bites of food we eat.

The U.N. estimates that 40 percent of invertebrate pollinator species are on the brink of extinction.

Bee pollination contributes significantly to world food production, adding more than $15 billion to the US economy and over $217 billion to global economies. Yet bees are dying at an alarming rate. Between 2014 and 2015, beekeepers lost 42.1% of their hives. What’s causing these important insects to die off? A growing body of scientific evidence links pollinator declines to pesticide use, particularly a group of insecticides called neonicotinoids or neonics. A recent study found that over 75% of global honey samples contain neonics and half of samples contain a cocktail of chemicals. These pesticides can make it harder for bees to reproduce. To protect the health of our environment and all it’s inhabitants, we must re-examine and eliminate the widespread use of pesticides and fertilizers.

Luckily, there are individuals and organizations dedicated to protecting pollinators. For example, Friends of the Earth are working to #savethebees by actively petitioning big businesses to cease the use of these toxic chemicals. They’ve already been successful in getting more than 65 retailers, including Home Depot and Lowe’s (the two largest garden retailers in the U.S) to eliminate the use of neonics from plants and off-the-shelf products.

And our partners at the Center for Food Safety landed a major victory for both bees and consumers. They’ve successfully encouraged major popcorn retailers, like Pop Weaver, Pop Secret, and Preferred Popcorn, to phase out neonics from their entire supply chains. Not to mention, their latest win included a commitment from Preferred Popcorn to launch their first certified organic popcorn line. Also check out how even the youngest are saving the bees through simple things like lemonade. It shows that everyone can save pollinators and promote the biodiversity of our planet!

CHALLENGE

Green

20 POINTS

Think

Did you know that just 16 oz of honey requires 1,152 honeybees to travel 112,000 miles and visit 4.5 million flowers? This is typical work for a pollinator, yet we take their role in our ecosystems for granted. Start to consider the role of pollinators in your life.

Challenge

  • Watch this Ted Talk created by award winning cinematographer, director, and producer, Louie Schwartzberg.
  • Share five words to describe how you felt after viewing the Ted Talk.
  • Now it’s time to observe the hard work of our pollinators … go outside and see if you can find a bee, butterfly, hummingbird, or other pollinator.
  • Take a photo to capture the beauty of a pollinator in action.
  • Post your pollinator picture on Instagram and caption it with one fact about the importance of pollinators. Tag @turninggreenorg and use the hashtag #PGC2017.
  • Can’t find a pollinator on your campus? Think about why. Then, find a free image online of a pollinator, post it on Instagram, and caption it with why pollinators might not be on your campus and why this is a problem. Tag @turninggreenorg and use the hashtag #PGC2017.
  • Deliverables

    Upload your responses and a screen shot of your social media post in a PDF document. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.

    Submission Guidelines

    • Please submit all entries as PDFs – no word or pages docs.
    • Please save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_green_2017.pdf)
    • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
    • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc
    • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
    • You will get a confirmation on screen that your submission uploaded correctly (green) or that it failed (red) and to try again.
    • If your total points do not change, your submission did not load correctly and you will have to try again. You can see your point total by opening the Edit Profile tab on the bottom nav bar. Your point total will be at the top of the page.
    • Send any questions you have to info@turninggreen.org
    • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Facebook @TurningGreen, on Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg and use #PGC2017.
    The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

    Greener

    40 POINTS

    Think

    We can all be part of the solution to the pollinator crisis. We must do our part by cutting back on pesticide use, growing native plants, and getting involved politically in our communities. Check out the Center for Food Safety’s guide to find pollinator-friendly plants that are native to your area.

    Challenge

    Design your dream pollinator-friendly habitat or garden on Pinterest or create your own collage.

  • Include at least 12 pins/images including native plants that are pollinator-friendly, an infographic about biodiversity, and an infographic about pollinators along with other resources. Make sure any plants you feature are not pre-treated with pesticides.
  • Include garden equipment, pesticide alternatives (DIYs) and water conservation methods.
  • Write up a sentence or two to caption each pin explaining why you made the choice and how it will support pollinators and biodiversity in your area.
  • As you celebrate pollinators, check out Friends of the Earth’s campaign that protects our pollinators, by asking companies like Krogers to stop selling food that has bee killing pesticides. Take action, and sign their petition.
  • Deliverables

    Upload a PDF Document with a link to your Pinterest board, and your response. Include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.

    Submission Guidelines

    • Please submit all entries as PDFs – no word or pages docs.
    • Please save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greener_2017.pdf)
    • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
    • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc
    • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
    • You will get a confirmation on screen that your submission uploaded correctly (green) or that it failed (red) and to try again.
    • If your total points do not change, your submission did not load correctly and you will have to try again. You can see your point total by opening the Edit Profile tab on the bottom nav bar. Your point total will be at the top of the page.
    • Send any questions you have to info@turninggreen.org
    • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Facebook @TurningGreen, on Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg and use #PGC2017.
    The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

    Greenest

    60 POINTS

    Due on 10/26 at 6am PT. We will award up to 90 bonus points based on quality of work.

    Think

    With the Center for Food Safety and Friends of the Earth, Turning Green has launched The Pollinator Toolkit. The goal is to aid students in eliminating neonics from campuses and to support pollinator life and the health and wellbeing of our planet. Your school is the perfect place to create a biodiversity-rich habitat. It’s time to roll up your sleeves, get down to business, and lead the movement to #protectthepollinators on your campus.

    Challenge

    Use The Pollinator Toolkit to take the first steps toward integrating pollinator-friendly habitats on your campus.

  • Find out what pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides are currently used on campus. Find out where they are used and for what purpose.
  • Meet with someone on your campus who is in the know about your school’s landscaping protocols, likely someone in facilities or landscape. Share that person’s name and title and find out contact info for any follow up you need.
  • Find out if there are any native, pollinator-friendly plants on campus.
  • Where does your school source the plants?
  • Where on campus, could you grow more native, pollinator-friendly plants free of neonics?
  • What on campus methods could be used instead of pesticides to ensure health of people, plants and species?
  • Write up a report about your investigative experience.
  • What did you learn?
  • Were you surprised by your findings?
  • Do you have any next steps in mind? If so what would they be? If this is a project you would like to continue pursuing, let Turning Green know. We and the team at Friends of the Earth will work with you.
  • Deliverables

    Upload a PDF with your report and any photos. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address and school.

    Submission Guidelines

    • Please submit all entries as PDFs – no word or pages docs.
    • Please save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greener_2017.pdf)
    • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
    • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc
    • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
    • You will get a confirmation on screen that your submission uploaded correctly (green) or that it failed (red) and to try again.
    • If your total points do not change, your submission did not load correctly and you will have to try again. You can see your point total by opening the Edit Profile tab on the bottom nav bar. Your point total will be at the top of the page.
    • Send any questions you have to info@turninggreen.org
    • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Facebook @TurningGreen, on Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg and use #PGC2017.

    TODAY’S PRIZES

    up to 10 winners from the greener challenge will receive:

    Annie’s Homegrown Organic Cheddar Bunnies
    Annie’s Homegrown Organic Fruit Snacks
    Annie’s Homegrown Organic Cheddar Popcorn
    Annie’s Homegrown Organic BBQ Sauce
    Nutiva Hempseeds
    Modern Sprout Hydroponic Grow Jar

    Vanishing of the BeesDVD
    Everyone Hand Soap
    Everyone 3-in-1 Lotion
    Bees Wrap Beeswax Food Cover
    16 oz. Mason Jar

    up to 10 winners from the greenest challenge will receive:

    Annie’s Homegrown Organic Shells & White Cheddar
    Annie’s Homegrown Organic Cheddar Snack Mix
    Annie’s Homegrown Organic Buttered Popcorn
    Annie’s Homegrown Organic Green Goddess Dressing
    Acure Hydrating Body Wash
    Acure Hydrating Body Lotion

    Nutiva Superseeds
    Tin Lid Hemp Hat
    Kabana Organic Bali Bloc Sunscreen
    Cobrahead Weeder
    Baker Creek Organic Pea Seeds