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Climate Change’s Impact on Biodiversity

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Delhi North East chapter.

Climate change is a major environmental issue that is affecting the planet in various ways. One of the most significant impacts of climate change is its effect on biodiversity. Biodiversity refers to the variety of life forms, including plants, animals, and microorganisms, that inhabit the planet. These life forms form intricate ecological networks that are essential for maintaining the health and functioning of ecosystems. Climate change, however, is disrupting these networks and causing irreversible damage to biodiversity.

One of the primary effects of climate change on biodiversity is the alteration of habitats. As temperatures rise, species are forced to migrate to find suitable conditions. This migration, however, is not always possible, especially for slow-moving species such as plants. As a result, some species may become extinct, while others may become invasive, disrupting existing ecosystems. Furthermore, the changes in temperature and rainfall patterns are also causing the loss of habitats such as coral reefs and forests, which are critical for maintaining biodiversity.

Climate change is also altering the timing of natural events such as flowering, migration, and breeding. For instance, the onset of spring is occurring earlier than usual, and this can cause mismatches between pollinators and plants, leading to a decline in plant populations. In addition, changes in rainfall patterns and temperature are affecting the timing and quantity of food sources for animals, leading to declines in populations and changes in migration patterns.

Another significant impact of climate change on biodiversity is the increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. For example, hurricanes, floods, and droughts are becoming more frequent and severe, and this can result in the destruction of habitats and the loss of species. In addition, extreme weather events can also result in the introduction of invasive species and diseases, further disrupting ecosystems.

Finally, climate change is causing changes in the chemistry of the oceans and the atmosphere, leading to acidification and warming of the oceans. This, in turn, is causing a decline in the population of marine organisms such as corals and plankton, which form the foundation of the oceanic food chain. Furthermore, changes in the atmosphere are causing an increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide, which is leading to changes in plant growth patterns and the composition of plant communities.

In conclusion, climate change is having a profound effect on biodiversity, leading to the loss of habitats, the alteration of natural events, the increase in extreme weather events, and changes in the chemistry of the oceans and atmosphere. These impacts are leading to declines in populations, the extinction of species, and the disruption of ecological networks. It is crucial that we take immediate action to mitigate the effects of climate change and protect the planet’s biodiversity before it is too late.

Leena Joshi

Delhi North East '24

Leena Joshi is a social entrepreneur, climate advocate and author. She is the founder and executive director of Ethereal, a youth-led climate nonprofit, with 9000 volunteers in 40+ countries. She has sat on boards and advisory councils for various organizations. She has been a member at Harvard Business Review Ascend Select and has provided insights to editorial, marketing and product teams of HBR and has contributed to research projects by HBR. Leena's work has been featured by World Bank Group, United Nations Foundation, International Universities Climate Alliance, Climate Reality Project, Her Campus Media, and Feminist. She was previously a Member at Global Leadership Challenge at Oxford University. She has been an Ambassador for organizations including World Bank Group, Greenpeace USA, 4ocean and Plastic Pollution Coalition. Leena is a prolific public speaker who has spoken at universities across the world including Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge. She has authored books including 'The Climate Awakening' and 'Ethereal' and writes poetry about social impact.