There’s the old saying ‘think globally, act locally’ and that still applies. Getting involved with your local nature conservation society is one immediate action you could take (you can find a list at http://www.nhm.ac.uk/jdsml/research-curation/library/digital-library/nature-societies-online/).
There are also things you can do with your own lifestyle. For example, do you like eating fish? Nothing wrong with that, if the impact of all of our fish-eating does not lead to loss of populations, species and ecosystems. Unfortunately, some fishing practices are leading to just that. Bluefin tuna, for example, is in a very shaky position right now, and may well be fished to extinction. The impact of bottom trawling is considerable, not just from scraping away the entire ecosystem (think about the impact of a massive net if dragged across the landscape in your nearest countryside), but from raising plumes of sediment, often with pollutants. Take a look at the Wikipedia entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bottom_trawling or just do a web search of ‘bottom trawling’ to get some really scary stuff. Anyway, what can you do about it? Think what you buy, and ask if you don’t know – I certainly have, in restaurants, and rejected anything not caught appropriately - really surprises them, too. You can get information from The Marine Conservation Society among others (http://www.mcsuk.org/what_we_do/Fishing%20for%20our%20future), including suggestions of what is OK to eat and what is not.
Another natural product you meet with every day is palm oil. You’ll find it in margarine, crisps, chocolate, cream cheese, and hundreds of other foods and cosmetics. It is also being used for biofuels – an alternative to fossil fuels. However, the biodiversity of an oil palm plantation is massively lower than that of a natural forest or peatland which it replaces, and the expansion of these plantations to provide for our consumption is growing. Can you cut down on palm oil consumption? Do some research on the web about palm oil, and see what might be done.
Of course, if you try to cut out palm oil, or other problematic products, you might find yourself taking more time in shopping and paying more for things. This is where for most of us it starts getting difficult. However, if we really care then this is a major way in which we can make a difference. As long as consumers keep on buying products which damage biodiversity, and don’t ask the questions, then the damage will continue.
Finally, let government know that you care. Talk to your local council, your MP. Raise issues and ask questions. Ultimately biodiversity will be maintained by political action and will. Having policies is one thing, making sure those policies are implemented is another, so Government needs to know that we care.
Every little helps, here are a few tips...