Sustainable Dentistry How-to Guide: Biodiversity and green space
Biodiversity refers to the variety of living species which interact with one another to form ecosystems. Ecosystems are dynamic with each species depending upon and impacted by interactions with many others. Humans are no exception! We rely on trees and plants converting carbon dioxide to oxygen, microbes creating fertile soil, insects breaking down waste matter and pollinating crops, predators balancing numbers of prey animals, and so on.
The diversity of species is important, not only because each species impacts on many others, but because it provides resilience against changing conditions caused by factors such as climate, land use and spread of pathogens. Currently, biodiversity is collapsing worldwide (including in the UK), as species are lost due to farming practices, habitat destruction and climate change. This has been described as the ‘sixth mass extinction event in geological history’.
Dental practices have the opportunity to protect and enhance local biodiversity through simple changes to their premises and by supporting local food growing.