Getting People to Appreciate Biodiversity

It is not easy to get people to appreciate biodiversity. With the exception of people who have scientific training in areas like ecology, zoology, botany and environmental studies, the rest of the folks tend to have very little interest in matters to do with biodiversity. Yet it is critical for all people to be interested in biodiversity: because everyone has a role to play in the conservation of biodiversity. Thus a question comes up as to how we can get people to be interested in matters to do with biodiversity.

In my opinion, there are three keys to success in this endeavor (of trying to get people to appreciate biodiversity).

Firstly, if we are to get people to appreciate biodiversity, we need to educate them on the fact that all species within our ecosystem are there to serve a certain purpose. And that ecological imbalance is bound to occur, whenever a species in the system is interfered with. Then you can proceed to explain that this sort of imbalance can trigger a series of other imbalances, which can ultimately lead to a situation where our very existence as human beings is imperiled.

Secondly, if we are to get people to appreciate biodiversity, we need to educate them on the fact that biodiversity is beneficial to us as a species. This may entail a demonstration of the fact that if the generations before us hadn’t conserved the biodiversity, some of the organisms that give us medicine today wouldn’t be there. Those were more or less ‘useless’ organisms then, but our forefathers nonetheless opted to conserve them. Now we are benefiting from them.

Thirdly, if we are to get people to appreciate biodiversity, we need to educate them on the fact that biodiversity is beneficial to them, as individuals. This is a question of appealing to the people’s self-interest. Suppose, for instance, you are addressing the folks who work for a company like UPS: whose employees online portal is Upsers.com. That, of course, is not the site where clients with UPS tracking number slips can track their shipments’ progress. On the contrary, it is a site where Uspers are able to check their pay stubs, work schedules, company news and so on. While addressing such folks (like the UPS workers in question), you have to ensure that your message connects with their individual self-interests. That is the only way in which you can get the message to click with them.

But as we are all aware, most people tend to ‘tune off’ the moment topics like the one on biodiversity are introduced for discussion. Thus, special effort has to be made, if the message on the importance of biodiversity is to get through. The lessons on biodiversity have to be very carefully tailored. The lessons have to be very brief. The language used has to be very simple, yet attractive. The lessons on the importance of biodiversity have to be presented in such a manner that the targeted audience ‘sees the point’ in the whole thing. It is hard, but gradually, the people may get to a point of genuinely appreciating biodiversity.

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