Day 12

Biodiversity

SPONSORED BY ANNIE’S HOMEGROWN

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

Simply put, biodiversity or “biological diversity” is the “diversity among and within plant and animal species in an environment.” In the bigger picture, it considers every species on earth. On a smaller scale, you can see biodiversity within a single ecosystem, let’s say a creek or a community garden. Identifying species and understanding their relationships to one another is one of our greatest challenges. From your own backyard to biodiverse hotspots like the Amazon, researchers estimate that there are between 3 and 30 million species on our planet, the vast majority of which have not yet been identified.

Everyone knows about the extinction of dinosaurs. But a meteor doesn’t need to hit Earth in order to kill off an entire species. Did you know that our planet is actually experiencing a sixth mass extinction right now? With dozens of species becoming extinct every day, global biodiversity has declined 50% in the past 40 years. That means we have lost half of all species on Earth, in a tiny sliver of time.

Why? Unlike previous mass extinctions, the current loss of biodiversity is caused almost entirely by people. Human activities contribute to habitat loss, invasive species, and climate change. But without these species, ecosystems can’t function as effectively, putting all of our lives at risk.

Our biodiversity crisis has put tremendous pressure on some of the most vital organisms on the planet: pollinators. In fact, The U.N. estimates that 40 percent of invertebrate pollinator species are on the brink of extinction including 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.

In fact, bees and other pollinators are responsible for one in every three bites of food we eat.

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, which is the second highest annual loss recorded to date.

The survival of pollinators is crucial for the survival of other plant and animal species. What’s causing these important critters to die off? A growing body of scientific evidence links pollinator declines to pesticide use, particularly a group of insecticides called neonicotinoids or neonics. In order 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.

The good news is, there are incredible individuals and organizations out there who are dedicated to protecting our pollinators. For example, our partners at Friends of the Earth are very involved in the quest to #savethebees, 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 just landed a major victory for both bees and consumers. Through one of their current campaigns, they’ve successfully encouraged major popcorn retailers, like Pop Weaver, Pop Secret, and just recently, 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.

CHALLENGE

Green

20 POINTS

THINK

All too often, ecosystem services such as pollination are taken for granted. Did you know that just 16 oz of honey requires 1,152 honeybees to travel 112,000 miles and visit 4.5 million flowers? That distance and number of flowers visited is typical for a day’s work in the life of a pollinator, yet we rarely stop to express gratitude for their hard work.

 

CHALLENGE

  • Watch the Ted Talk of the day created by award winning cinematographer, director, and producer, Louie Schwartzenberg.
  • Share five words to describe how you felt after viewing the TedTalk.
  • 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 #PGC2016.

 

DELIVERABLES

Upload a PDF document with your responses and a screenshot of your Instagram post. 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.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greener.pdf)
  • Do not include # in filenames
  • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc
  • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
  • Link images if possible
  • You will get a confirmation that your submission uploaded correctly. If you did not get a confirmation, please try again.
  • If your total points do not change, your submission did not load correctly and you will have to try again.
  • 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 #PGC2016.
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Greener

40 POINTS

THINK

We can all be part of the solution to the pollinator crisis. From our backyards to communities, we must do our part to save pollinators, the planet and preserve biodiversity 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 as a visual graphic.
  • 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.

 

DELIVERABLES

Upload a PDF document with a link to your Pinterest Board. 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.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greener.pdf)
  • Do not include # in filenames
  • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc
  • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
  • Link images if possible
  • You will get a confirmation that your submission uploaded correctly. If you did not get a confirmation, please try again.
  • If your total points do not change, your submission did not load correctly and you will have to try again.
  • 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 #PGC2016.
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Greenest

60 POINTS

Due on Monday, October 24, 2016 at 6 am PT

THINK

With the Center for Food Safety and Friends of the Earth, we have 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, where and for what.
    • Meet with someone on your campus who is in the know about your school’s landscaping protocols. 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.
    • From where does your school source their plants?
    • Where could you grow more native, pollinator-friendly plants free of neonics on campus?
    • What methods could be used on campus 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?

 

DELIVERABLES

Upload a PDF document that includes your report and responses to all questions. 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.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greener.pdf)
  • Do not include # in filenames
  • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc
  • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
  • Link images if possible
  • You will get a confirmation that your submission uploaded correctly. If you did not get a confirmation, please try again.
  • If your total points do not change, your submission did not load correctly and you will have to try again.
  • 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 #PGC2016.

 

The deadline for entering this challenge has past.