Thursday, March 30, 2006

Kiribati protects biodiversity.
Biodiversity protects Kiribati.

The tiny atoll nation of Kiribati, halfway between Fiji and Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean, has annouced at the UN Convention of Biodiversity that they are setting up the world's third largest marine-reserve, the Phoenix Islands Protected Area. Nice name, especially when associated with protecting biodiversity.

The reason why protecting biodiversity is so vitally important is that it has a vital stabilising effect on the climate. The biosphere is one great big carbon pump, cooling the atmosphere by pulling heat trapping CO2 out, sequestering some for self perpetuation and recycling the rest. When any species dies off carbon stops flowing though the carbon cycle. So does that species' role in the food chain, and all it's dependent species in the ecosystem. The result is that carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere, building up and heating up, and/or being absorbed into the oceans at a rate that turns them acidic.

Biodiversity guarantees the biosphere is in full working order as a giant carbon sink thus moderating global climate and perpetuating the conditions for life on our rock in space. Full marks to the Kiribatians for playing their part as global citizens, and for looking after themselves:
"If the coral and reefs are protected, then the fish will grow and bring us benefit," Mr Anote Tong, President of Kiribati, said. "In this way all species of fish can be protected so none become depleted or extinct."
What are you waiting for? Start packing your cossie, masks, snorkles and flippers for Kiribati, support their economy, and your environment. Another reason why throwing a marine reserve around the area is that scientists are still discovering new species on the healthy reefs of the Phoenix Islands as this as this National Geographic article explains.

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1 comment:

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