Day 24

Biodiversity

SPONSORED BY Annie’s

PGC Notes: As a reminder, you must follow all submission instructions in order to be considered for a daily prize. This means including your name, username, email address, and school in every submission. Please be sure to fully read the instructions for each challenge!  Thanks. 

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

Today’s theme, biodiversity brings together everything you have learned over the past 23 days. And if you are really intentional about applying that wisdom, the impact you and we can all have together is pretty massive. There’s a lot to learn and to implement if our job is to save the planet! As you make your way down the page today, click on as many of the links as you can.  

In addition to each of us having a major role in the outcomes of our future, businesses and organizations also have an enormous responsibility in this massive task. We want to celebrate the incredible and innovative work being done by today’s partner’s to ensure the health of our planet for future generations.

Annie’s works to cultivate a healthier and happier world by spreading goodness through nourishing foods, honest words and conduct that is considerate and forever kind to the planet. “We grow more organic acres enhancing soil, water and biodiversity.”

Rainforest Alliance stands for biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihoods. “If we really look into nature for answers, we will have great success.” Take a look at this short film to see the people all over the world saving the planet.

Conservation International protects the nature we all rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. “Nature doesn’t need people. People need nature. Our food, our water, our health, our jobs – they all rely on the health of the planet’s ecosystems.” ~ Conservation.org

Biological diversity, or biodiversity for short describes the grand variety of all life; it encompasses the diversity within ecosystems and species. It is the source of all the food we eat and the foundation for everything we do on Earth. Biodiversity also aids the adaptability and resilience of ecosystems to challenges, such as climate change.

Read this articleWhat is biodiversity and why does it matter to us?”

Watch this 360° film Under the Canopy from our partner Conservation International to virtually explore the immensely beautiful biodiversity in the Amazon tropical rainforest.

On a small scale, you can see biodiversity within a single ecosystem, like a creek, a community garden, or even your body. 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 have experienced the largest state fire in history) compared to the forests in New Hampshire. From the types of trees, to the animals in the forests, to the quantity of rainfall – each ecosystem is unique. Not only do these differences in habitats make each continent or country interesting to visit, but they also keep our planet in balance and resilient to the threat of climate change and environmental pollution.

Biodiversity in species refers to 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 within an ecosystem to keep it in balance and supporting each other in the circle of life.

Biodiversity in genetics means that within a species, there are many different traits or genetics. This keeps a species adapting, evolving, and preventing it from going extinct. The common practice of monoculture crops put food sources like bananas at a higher risk of dying out. Monoculture is a cultivation of a single crop in a given area, significantly reducing the genetic variety. This practice makes crops 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 this create genetic abundance and benefit people and planet. Without a variety of genes and species in a crop area, the species ability to protect themselves from predators is greatly reduced. Species and their intricate relationships to ecosystems is literally what shapes our world.  

But, at this moment in time, right before our eyes, our planet is experiencing its 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 geological blink of an eye.

Why is this mass extinction happening? Unlike previous mass extinctions, the current massive loss of biodiversity is caused almost entirely by human activity. Habitat loss due to deforestation and urban expansion; spreading of invasive and non-native species; and climate change all dramatically reduce the Earth’s biodiversity. When biodiversity is diminished, ecosystems become imbalanced and can no longer function as effectively, putting all of our lives at risk. As we take more from nature than nature can give, we weaken the Earth’s ability to provide the clean air, fresh water, and food we all depend on. ~ (Conservation International)   

In the Conservation International film  Under the Canopy, the narrator shares that his forest provides clean air for the world and provides everything his family needs; food, water, medicine, materials to build our homes. The forest provides for everyone. We can only save it together.

Today, our hope is that you complete this challenge with an understanding of the breadth and magnitude of biodiversity. And with that, your place as a human to find and create solutions to the greatest crisis of our time.  

CHALLENGE

Green

20 POINTS

Think

We are going to start our conversation with one population that our biodiversity crisis has tremendously impacted – one of the most vital organisms on the planet, pollinators; bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and bats. They 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.

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

Did you know that 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. Let’s consider the role of pollinators in our lives.

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 its 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 is 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 135 retailers, including Home Depot and Lowe’s (the two largest garden retailers in the U.S) to take steps to eliminate the use of neonics from plants and off-the-shelf products.eliminate the use of neonics from plants and off-the-shelf products.

Challenge

We can all be part of the solution to the pollinator crisis by eliminating the use of pesticides, growing native plants, and getting involved politically in our communities.

  • Watch this Ted Talk for some wonderful inspiration. It was created by one of TG’s heroes, award winning cinematographer, director, and producer, Louie Schwartzberg. Share your favorite part of the TED talk with us.
  • Check out Center for Food Safety’s guide to find pollinator-friendly plants that are native to your area. Think about planting one organic seed to start your very own pollinator friendly garden.
  • As you celebrate pollinators, read through Friends of the Earth’s campaign that protects our pollinators. Take action, and sign the petition. Include a screenshot of the signed petition in your submission. Tag @TurningGreenOrg, @annieshomegrown,  @foe_us and use the hashtags #PGC2018.

Deliverables

Upload a PDF Document your response and screenshot. Include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school. And post your picture on your social media of your choice.  

Submission Guidelines

  • If you do not see an upload button, you need to log in
  • 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_2018.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 points total by logging out and back in again.
  • If you are having trouble uploading, try using a different browser
  • 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 #PGC2018.

Greener

40 POINTS

Think

There is a lot to know about biodiversity – and that knowledge is the first step to making change.

Challenge

  • For this challenge, we are sharing some of our team’s favorite resources so you can dive deeper
    • Read this piece from National Geographic defining Biodiversity.
    • Read this piece from The Guardian: What is biodiversity and why does it matter?
    • Watch this inspirational film from our partner Conservation International,  My Africa.
    • Watch and read this this collage of ideas by Center for Ecoliteracy
    • Watching this film about the doomsday seed vault saving, protecting, and cataloguing biodiversity
  • Inspiring, right? Write a reflection after looking at each of these resources, highlighting what mobilized you most (300 word minimum).
  • Do some research and find two more great resources that would you can share with friends so they can learn with you. This could be a news article, video, blog post, etc. Share your new resources with us!

Deliverables

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

Submission Guidelines

  • If you do not see an upload button, you need to log in
  • 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_2018.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 points total by logging out and back in again.
  • If you are having trouble uploading, try using a different browser
  • 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 #PGC2018.

Greenest

60 POINTS

Think

What we are observing real time across our planet through climate change, loss of species, natural disasters, human and urban encroachment, destruction of biodiversity …  is hard to handle on a daily basis. But what we can each do to be active global citizens is to make choices that protect our environments and ultimately ensure the health of our planet.

Challenge

So how do we become effective changemakers on our campuses and local communities. We start with observation – paying attention in ways that maybe we haven’t in the past.

  • First, walk around your campus and observe – not the kind of walk you do when you are running late for class – slow, intentional, walking. Observe the natural habitats and species, infrastructure, resources, land use, and the commons. What do you see that may potentially be causing harm to you,  your campus and the biodiversity of our planet?
  • Document three observations through photos and caption your pictures with your solutions to these harmful practices.
  • Pick one of your observations and develop actionable steps you could take to make a difference. Create a visual and compelling call to action that will wake people up across your campus and in your community to help ignite change.

Share your call to action on social media and tag Tag @TurningGreenOrg, @annieshomegrown, @ConservationOrg, @RnfrstAlliance and use the hashtag #PGC2018.

Deliverables

Upload a PDF Document with your call to action and any photos and a screen shot of your social media post. Include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.

  • If you do not see an upload button, you need to log in
  • 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_greenest_2018.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 points total by logging out and back in again.
  • If you are having trouble uploading, try using a different browser
  • 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 #PGC2018.

TODAY’S PRIZES

up to 10 winners from the greener challenge will receive:

Annie’s Homegrown Organic Bunny Grahams
Annie’s Homegrown Organic Cocoa Bunnies
Annie’s Homegrown Organic Fruit Snacks
Annie’s Homegrown Organic BBQ Sauce
Nutiva Organic Superseeds

Nutiva Hemp Oil
Organic Matters Organic Fruit & Nut Trail Mix
Green Jeans Organic Seeds
Organic Soil and Pot
Josh Tickell Kiss the Ground

up to 10 winners from the greenest challenge will receive:

Annie’s Homegrown Organic Shells & White Cheddar
Annie’s Homegrown Organic Snack Mix
Annie’s Homegrown Organic Green Goddess Dressing
Annie’s Homegrown Organic Crispy Snack Bars
Acure Coconut Towelettes
Acure Blue Tansy Night Oil

Everyone Hand Soap
Everyone 3-in-1 Lotion
Green Jeans Organic Seeds
Ecovative Design Mushroom Planter
Cobrahead Weeder
Timber Press Gardens of the Highline