Saving our planet in numbers

18 November 2020 Press Centre of IBB

Alexey Vaganov, Candidate of Biological Sciences, Associate Professor of the Department of Botany, is engaged in the study of not only plants, but also mathematical modeling methods in biology. Here's what he said on his page in VKontakte.

Interesting generalized statistics were submitted on the WWF website six years ago, but its relevance has only increased over the years.

We are often asked to “protect nature”, “pay attention to environmental problems,” and so on, but they rarely explain why this should be done. Most often, nature conservation organizations use touching or creepy pictures in their appeals, and they throw in numbers that are clear only to them. “There are only 30 Far Eastern leopards left in nature!” "85% of black caviar on the market is illegal!". "The temperature of the world's oceans has risen by almost a degree in a hundred years!"

At the same time, the average man of the street does not understand why should he care about these numbers. It is neither hot nor cold because of how many black cranes are left in nature, the main thing is that fresh frozen chickens are regularly brought to the nearest supermarket. He has never been in the habitat of a leopard, that he doesn't care whether he stays there or not. Or maybe the locals will be even better off if he is gone: they can walk through the forest without fear and not worry about their cattle. And who cares about a sturgeon? Come on, it's just a fish!

However, saving the planet is in the interests of man, and not of the future, but of today. Nature gives man a lot, including the main thing: food, water, raw materials, and living conditions. According to the calculations of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the monetary equivalent of the products and other goods received by mankind from nature is at least 33 trillion dollars, this is this much: 33,000,000,000,000. An impressive figure, isn't it?

So, there are only four reasons to preserve nature:

Reason 1: nutrition
Man gets a huge amount of food from the wild. Seafood alone is produced 100 million tons per year, and this is several billion dollars in money terms. In addition, the fishing industry provides jobs for 38 million people. By the way, Far Eastern salmon accounts for about 30% of the world wild salmon fishery.

Reason 2: financial gain
In Africa, ecotourism generates the same income as farming, forestry and fishing combined. And Australia alone on the Great Barrier Reef earns $ 6 billion annually. The restoration of wetlands in the upper Mississippi and Missouri has cost the US $ 2-3 billion and has helped avert $ 16 billion in damage from possible flooding.

Reason 3: medicine
Another reason to think about the preservation of nature is medicine, and not only folk, but also modern. Man uses 50,000 - 70,000 plant species for the production of medicines. These drugs are used by 80% of the world's population. In China alone, 40% of the urban and 90% of the rural population are treated with herbal preparations.

Reason 4: living conditions
The earth offers ideal conditions for human existence. However, a person constantly seeks to violate them, without thinking that the destruction of one resource leads to the disappearance of another. Just one example: massive deforestation in China in the 1990s led to dust storms and drought, desertification, loss of soil fertility and other misfortunes. By the way, the economic damage amounted to 12% of GDP.

Humanity does not even think about the irreversibility of the consequences of its activities. Having created penicillin, a bionic prosthesis and Dolly the sheep, man imagines himself to be omnipotent. However, the attempt to recreate the biosphere - the Biosphere 2 project - ended in failure. This means that it is too early to dream of the opportunity to move to another planet, finishing this one, or to escape from an ecological disaster. But it's time to preserve what is still left here and now.

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