Bio- | diversity | biodiversity | biosphere …. definitions

Bio- | diversity | biodiversity | biosphere …. definitions

baɪ.əʊ-/ prefix
bio …The combining form bio– is used as a prefix meaning ‘life’.
1. The form bio– comes from Greek bíos, meaning ‘life’. It is often used in scientific terms, especially in biology

dʌɪˈvəːsɪti,dɪˈvəːsɪti/ noun
1. the state of being diverse; variety

bʌɪə(ʊ)dʌɪˈvəːsɪti/ noun
1. the number and types of plants and animals that exist in a particular area or in the world generally
2. a high level of biodiversity is usually considered important and desirable.

the biosphere
ˈbaɪ.əʊ.sfɪər/ noun
1. the part of the earth’s environment where life exists

We can survive as a species only if we live by the rules of the biosphere. Biodiversity is one of those rules.

Our biodiversity provides the life supporting systems that enable all organisms, including humans, to survive. Our wetlands purify water and help prevent flooding and drought. Indigenous forests provide carbon sinks and purify the air we breathe as well as providing recreation and amenity values.

Biodiversity is essential for the processes that support all life on Earth, including humans. Without a wide range of animals, plants and microorganisms, we cannot have the healthy ecosystems that we rely on to provide us with the air we breathe and the food we eat. And people also value nature of itself.

There are lots of ways that humans depend upon biodiversity. It is vital for us to conserve it. Pollinators such as birds, bees and other insects are estimated to be responsible for a third of the world’s crop production. Without pollinators we would not have apples, cherries, blueberries, almonds and many other foods we eat. Agriculture also relies on invertebrates – they help to maintain the health of the soil crops grow in. Soil is teeming with microbes that are vital for liberating nutrients that plants need to grow, which are then also passed to us when we eat them. Life from the oceans provides the main source of animal protein for many people.

Money does grow on trees

Money does grow on trees

rainforest during foggy day
Photo by David Riaño Cortés on

For all the horror of the pandemic, COVID-19 has shifted people’s thinking.

Most of us have used the lockdowns and the change to reflect on, ‘how we are living our lives’ and ‘how we want to live our lives’. Or as we describe below, ‘what we want our lives to be about.’

Environmentalist and educator Brian Wehlburg tells that there is no more pragmatic group asking themselves these questions than Australia’s farmers – both the young and seasoned.

farmer feeding cute lambs with milk
Photo by Rachel Claire on

The relationship between input and output became very clear when Brian asked a group of Young Farmers Connect members recently at a workshop in the Northern Rivers to ask ‘Why’ when explaining their ‘vision’.

‘Why do you want a shed full of tractors?’ ‘Because I want to be productive.’ ‘Why?’ ‘For financial security.’ ‘Why do you want that?’ ‘For a happy life.’

And as they all delved deeper into the elements of a ‘happy life’, most young farmers describe it as ‘being secure, financially and physically’. ‘Being healthy with a healthy connection to their community and the environment’. And most tellingly, being in a ‘loving relationship’.

So, the kind of environment they (and I reckon most of us) want for a good life, is a healthy bank balance, physical health, a healthy relationship with our communities, our significant others, and the environment.

Our food producers, young and old, see the connection between the environment (how they are living their lives) and a good life, that is how they want to live and what they want their lives to be about. 

Each day they see these connections. Brian says, they report how they feel when they see that first green spear of grass after the drought. They understand how such things create moods and feelings, drive energy, desires, and behaviours.

closeup photo of green grass field
Photo by Johannes Plenio on

It is in moments like these that the farming cohort, according to Brian, understand that the quality of life is much more than a unit of production. That the kind of environment they want for a ‘good life’, has shifted from securing the immediate dollar to one of generational sustainability.

“Not one of those young farmers woke up in the morning wanting to wreck a bit of their farms!” said Brian. We reckon the CoVid-19 pandemic has given the rest of us a taste of a similar understanding.

“Dealing with this hugely complex thing, we have to constantly monitor it. We know that now.”

Whether it’s the virus, the farm and its soil health, or the oil in the tractor, they all need constant monitoring and only work when cared for.  

We have that power to combine science and care, to use our heads and our hearts.

We also have the power to destroy.  The human species in fact is the biggest destroyer of our environment. In Australia that is 84% of our species. 

The reality is that the numbers are shifting towards those who do not want to go back to that dark world. Those who trust both science and ancient knowledge systems of how best to use water and minerals, and simultaneously improve what we have.  To look to the next generation and look after and improve what we have been left.

 As Brian Wehlburg likes to quote:

“We couldn’t have an orchestra, a government or an army without sunlight shining on a green leaf.”

Read more about the power of regenerative farming at Land-to-Market(our interview with CEO Tony Hill coming up) and read our Carbon Credit Bulga Downs and RegenCo story It’s not  the cow, it’s the how and 26 June 2021 AFR story here.