We know that biological diversity is critical for our wellbeing and ultimately our survival, yet the number of species thriving in Aotearoa and around the world is declining. To raise awareness of biodiversity and to encourage people to be part of the solution, the UN created the International Day for Biological Diversity. This year’s theme is 'Building a shared future for all life'. Our co-founder Robbie van Dam shares why we should care about biodiversity, why trapping introduced predators effectively and humanely is so important, and how we can all make a difference - for ourselves and future generations.
Biodiversity and why we should care about it
People, birds, plants, fish, insects… we’re all interdependent. When the population of one invasive species (such as rats) gets too big, the number of native species (such as tūī or takahē in New Zealand) can very quickly get out of whack. It doesn’t take long for iconic species such as kiwi and kākā to be reduced to dangerously low numbers.
New Zealanders are lucky to have so many forms of life in sight. Looking out my window, I can see half a dozen different species of birds - pollinating trees and plants, and diving for fish. In my garden, I know that my family’s vegetable waste is breaking down in my compost bin and dozens of microbes are eating the seaweed layered under the native trees. I’m proud to play a part in supporting biodiversity, at home and work.
Building a shared future for all life
We started Goodnature because we wanted to see endangered wildlife in New Zealand and around the world flourish again. 17 years later, we’re still committed to some big projects to protect the taonga of our country.
The more time I spend in nature, the more I see what’s being lost. For too long, too many people have abandoned the simple things that support biodiversity. And not only in the backcountry.
Everything you do at home, work and in your community counts: trapping pests, recycling, composting, walking and biking, and taking your tamariki into nature as often as possible. When we spend time in nature, we share the joy of ‘all living things’. When we open our eyes and ears, heart and minds, to our environment, it’s obvious that we need to protect it.
A future that benefits ‘all life’ demands that we all take responsibility for keeping nature in balance.
Trapping pests supports biodiversity
Every bit of land protected from pests through effective and humane trapping supports biodiversity. It’s a powerful way to help our native species take care of themselves and thrive. When our ecosystem’s natural balance is disturbed, a monoculture rather than a diverse culture becomes the norm, and our native species can’t survive.
Living in partnership with nature creates a safe habitat – an oasis – for our native animals to thrive. Wellingtonians have seen this first-hand. A couple of decades ago, only seven pairs of tui lived in the city. Today, they are everywhere. As a result of the collective effort of backyard trappers, we have one of the largest populations of kākā in the country, and the only population of tieke/saddlebacks beyond our off-shore islands and sanctuaries.
Everyone can make a difference
No single organisation can tackle the problem of invasive pests on its own. By working together it shouldn’t take us that long to bring back many of our native species from the brink.
David Attenborough wrote, “Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are totally dependent on the natural world. It provides us with every mouthful of food we eat and every breath we take. It is the most precious thing we have, and we need to defend it. Our future depends on our ability to take action now.”
Supporting biodiversity is easier than you might think. A few tips to get you started:
- Trap rats and stoats using our A24 in your backyard and encourage your neighbours and community to do the same.
- Join a native tree planting group in your community – native trees and plants will help our native wildlife thrive.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle and compost whenever you can – at home, work and in your community. The fewer resources you use the better for our biodiversity.
- Think about how you get between places – walking or riding your bike is obviously better than driving your car.
- Support local – grow your own greens if you can and buy products made locally.