By Jenifer Hernandez, age 10
Imagine a world where there are no animals. Without them, would humans even survive?
A 2022 report published by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services found that billions of people rely on around 50,000 wild species of animals and plants for their food, medicine and income. How might the world change if just some of these species were to go extinct?
Biodiversity is essential for human life. It is the many different kinds of life, such as insects, bacteria, animals, fungi and plants, that make everything on our planet function better. Animals play a huge role in the biodiversity of our ecosystem. Pollinators like bees carry pollen from plant to plant, which helps them reproduce and grow stronger. Without this vital process, our food supplies would almost disappear. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that bees and butterflies help to pollinate around 75% of the world’s flowering plants. They also pollinate 35% of all of our food crops like fruits and vegetables.
Plankton are microscopic animals that live in the ocean. They feed fish and marine animals and provide 50% of the world’s oxygen through photosynthesis. Without them, it would start to get really hard for us to breathe.
One of my favorite animals is birds, because they are colorful and so cute. Birds are also important seed dispersers, as they move seeds around, allowing a wide variety of plants to grow. Birds mainly eat insects. Large infestations of insects are deadly to plant life, crops and trees. A world without birds having insects for dinner would cause huge changes to our ecosystem.
Human life would be almost impossible without animals, and eventually, we might go extinct, too. This is why we all need to look after the animals and plants around us. We can do this by using eco-friendly products and by being conscious of our environmental impact. Our lives depend on it!