It is somewhat debatable whether or not humans caused the changes in weather that have had perhaps the greatest effect on biodiversity and ecological systems. The threat of humans shifting the climate is therefore extremely threatening to the natural environment. If the average temperature were to rise by several degrees Celsius, that warming would probably be followed by potentially large reorganizations of some ecological communities” (1).
One last issue concerning the effects that humans have on biodiversity is that of overpopulation. Recent advances in science and medicine have allowed for much greater lifespan and a very small infant mortality rate. We are increasing in population more rapidly than ever before. The growing population causes displacement of natural environments, not only because we need more living space, but also because the demand for agriculture and industry becomes higher as a result. It is painfully clear that in many ways humans have had a significantly negative effect on biodiversity and Earth’s natural environment as a whole. It is essential to realize that as rational beings, humans have the ability to not only understand the problems we have created and what needs to be done to amend them but also the capability of accomplishing these tasks.
There are two basic venues of thought as to why we should protect biodiversity and our natural environment: one is intrinsic reasoning, and the other is anthropocentric. Many believe that there are intrinsic reasons to protect biodiversity separate from all human needs and desires. These arguments are based on the idea that humans are part of nature, not separate from it. For example, evolution allowed us to come into being originally, and humans are now destroying the same biodiversity that allowed evolution to happen. A similar, but slightly different principle behind the intrinsic theory is that people did not create nature and therefore should not have the right to destroy it.
Every species has the right to not be eliminated by humans. Furthermore, since humans consciously destroy natural habitats, we should be responsible for fixing any unnecessary damage that we have done. A somewhat contradictory view is the anthropocentric theory, which is based on the idea that biodiversity has value for us as humans. The first and most direct example of this lies in goods obtained from nature, with the most important and often overlooked being food.
It is natural and necessary for us to consume a variety of living things, from vegetables to animals, in order to remain healthy. Cloth is another example of this; we need the diversity of life to make clothes for ourselves, whether they are cotton (as many are now) or animal skin (as used in the past). Other goods include pharmaceuticals and medicines derived from naturally existing sources. These have proven incredibly valuable to us, and millions of plants have never been chemically tested, leaving many opportunities open for the discovery of new organic remedies.