Something to watch: Extinction – The Facts

If you do nothing else, please watch this.

With a million species at risk of extinction, David Attenborough explores how this crisis of biodiversity has consequences for us all, including putting us at greater risk of pandemic diseases.

BBC iPlayer – Extinction: The Facts

In the midst of a pandemic it’s quite sobering to see how humans have decimated biodiversity at all levels of the food chain, but in doing so we’ve effectively created a world where viruses such as HIV, Ebola and most recently, COVID-19 start to circulate.

Our insatiable lust for money and profit has put us in a perverse situation were we are compelled to keep destroying our world in order to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table.

What is staggering is how much of this destruction is at the hands of the food industry. The mass farming of soy, livestock and fish is responsible for much of the habitat loss, including the rainforests. Unfortunately it is often cheaper to develop on Greenfield land than on brownfield, so we continue to lose habitat but frustratingly, retain the derelict buildings.

Fortunately, at 46 minutes in, the programme does offer some ways to re-evaluate our economic activities, but it is up to us as citizens to insist that our politicians act on them.

Some of these things we’ve talked about before, such as the circular economy, ethical investing and the excellent slow-food tour with Jack Thurston. When we stopped to talk to Rob Penn we discussed how mono-cultured wheat farming was more vulnerable to parasites than traditional farming methods, but also worse for us too.

There is much to do, but here in Cardiff is as good a place as any to start. If you would like to learn how to live in a more sustainable way, Green Squirrel here in Cardiff has you covered. Among the many and varied things they do, they hold workshops where you can learn traditional skills including household repairs, making honey, growing food, minimising waste, up-cycling and more. Back in 2015 they also held a Pedal-powered Film Festival, using five bicycles to power the screen, projector and speakers.

They’re also good people to know when it comes to finding other people looking to make Cardiff a more sustainable place. You’ll find them at @BeMoreSquirrel on Twitter and on Facebook.

While you’re at it, you’ll also want to look up Good Food Cardiff, who work with local organisations, businesses and communities to make sustainable, affordable and healthy food available for everyone. They’re also on Twitter and Facebook.

If you know of any other groups in Cardiff trying to make the world a better place, please comment below. It would be great to hear about them.

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