Biodiversity: The Key to Happiness

Macaws sitting on a fence.

Social creatures and signs of healthy bio-diversity. (Image: Prasit Rodphan via Dreamstime)

Biodiversity has taken on a new and vital importance in the conscience of humanity. Money has usually been the main driving force behind efforts for achieving an opulent life. If not opulent, at least a fairly well-supported and comfortable life, but money cannot buy the satisfaction a person feels from within.

The pandemic of 2020 has made people realize the true worth of nature. The constant lockdowns, working endless hours from home, and just being home all the time has made many crave the solitude and peace that nature presents.

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Recent studies have shown that if a person wants to be truly happy and feel a sense of completion, they prefer sitting in a park looking at the birds and other tiny critters interacting with nature.

How biodiversity affects happiness

Small-scale studies have been presented that speak highly of the importance of biological diversity and a person’s happiness. Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and University of Kiel scientists have conducted a pan-European study with the aim of understanding if, and how, being in nature and observing birds can improve the mental well-being of people.

No stress and at peace with Mother Nature.
No stress and at peace with Mother Nature. (Image: Richard Mcmillin via Dreamstime)

Taking past studies conducted in 26 European countries comprising over 26,000 adults, researchers focused on avian species diversity and the impact these birds had on people.

The lead author of the research, Joel Methorst, explains that Europeans are happiest when their immediate surroundings have high species diversity. He further explains that people, no matter their age group, are always fascinated when they watch birds, and this fascination often turns into bliss.

The reason why birds were chosen as the indicator is that birds are the most visible and constant elements. They are colorful and playful, and their vocal calls are often melodious or even funny. Also, birds are the first indicator of a stable and balanced ecosystem. When diverse species of birds are observed, it is evident that the area is a rich source of plant and water life.

Ways to increase biodiversity

Native crops and wildflowers not only help the local insect population to thrive, but they also help other plants pollinate better.
Native crops and wildflowers not only help the local insect population to thrive, but they also help other plants pollinate better. (Image: Subbotina via Dreamstime)

With the realization that biodiversity impacts a person’s mental and physical well-being, even more so than any materialistic possession, preserving biodiversity becomes essential. Happiness is a two-way deal. If a person wants to be happy, they need to ensure the source of their happiness is well-preserved and cared for.

The following are 5 ways in which everyone can contribute to preserving biological diversity.

1. Save wildflowers

Native crops and wildflowers not only help the local insect population to thrive, but they also help other plants pollinate better. When you have a host of colorful blooming flowerheads swaying your way, you will not only feel great, but you will contribute much toward maintaining your local ecosystem.

Healthy biodiversity is not only good for all our friends in nature but is essential for our own wellbeing and enjoyment. (Image: Guilherme Gomes De Mesquit via Dreamstime)

2. Keep water bodies clean

Like the land, preserving aquatic life nearby will contribute to an increase in avian biodiversity and wellbeing. Keeping freshwater bodies clean and not wasting resources is a great way toward conserving biodiversity. Here, following the mantra Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle (RRR) comes in handy. Once waste is reduced and recycled, many polluting agents that cause the deaths of avian and small creatures are reduced drastically.

3. Avoid agrichemicals

People with pristine lawns or kitchen gardens often use pesticides or other fertilizers rich in chemical nutrients. While a short-term gain is seen, the long-term damage to the soil and the water table below is felt only when it is too late. Wanting to help the plants grow is natural, but instead of using agrochemicals, it is better to use peels and skins of fruits and vegetables. Creating compost will help the plants grow better, organically, and healthier.

4. Opt for organic food

Talking of organic, helping organic farming not only helps farmers, but it also enhances biodiversity. Animals, especially birds, are very sensitive to chemicals used in farming. Organic farming does away with the need for these chemicals and they are healthy for the human body and the ecosystem. Once the use of agrochemicals is lessened, the local insect population increases, which further increases the local flora.

5. Conserve energy

Conserving energy and enjoying the sounds and the scenery. (Image: Anyaberkut via Dreamstime)

There is much talk and many diverse and even contradictory theories about weather and climate, variously called: Climate Change, Global Warming, Global Cooling, Greenhouse Effect, and Carbon Footprint. It is confusing. Regardless of what it is called, we can all play our part in helping Mother Nature by conserving energy, water, resources, and reducing pollution. This is a great way to start contributing to a happy ecosystem and a happier being.

The morning chorus! (Image: Natalia Bachkova via Dreamstime)

When mornings are filled with pleasant bird songs, people wake up happy and they often revert to their natural biological clocks. This causes a well-rested mind and better mental well-being.

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