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It’s time to focus on biodiversity. Biodiversity Month is held every September and it aims to promote the importance of protecting, conserving and improving biodiversity both within Australia and across the world. But what is biodiversity? Biodiversity has been described as the ‘web of life’ and ‘the different plants, animals and micro-organisms, their genes and ecosystems’. Or simply, ‘the variety of living things’. 

In fact, biodiversity encompasses every living thing on our planet and the environment in which they live, from the majestic blue whale to the smallest microbe; from the highest mountain peak to the deepest ocean trench. Thus, biodiversity forms part of an intricate and interdependent web of life of which we are all part. 

We depend on our planet’s biodiversity for our health, well-being, enjoyment of life, and sustenance. We derive all of our food and a majority of our medicines and industrial products from the domesticated and wild components of our biological diversity. It’s also a base for our tourism, recreation and of course our clean water.

So it begs the question: what can we do at home and within our communities to help protect our local area and Australia’s precious biodiversity? For a start, you can create a natural habitat in your backyard by using plants that are native to your region to establish a sanctuary for local wildlife and birds. While you’re at it, get rid of weeds before they jump your fence and head into nearby bushland. 

Being a responsible pet owner is also key. Make sure to not release your pet into the wild if you can no longer keep it. This includes not releasing your fish into local streams or flushing them. Domestic cats can have a devastating effect on local wildlife, so owners should make sure their cat is desexed and either kept indoors or in an outdoor cat run. 

And, of course, remember those important three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle. Perhaps look at how you could reduce the amount of rubbish you create and which inevitably ends up in landfill and our precious waterways. In addition, many recyclable items that don’t go in your standard recycling bin, such as electrical goods, batteries and soft plastics, can be dropped off at special collection points. 

While you’re examining your waste, look into starting a compost bin. In terms of kitchen waste, make a point to only put water down the drain. Products such as oils and chemicals may leave your life via the kitchen sink, but they end up in our waterways. Natural cleaning products can be the easy switch. While we’re focusing on the kitchen, make an effort to be an informed seafood eater and don’t consume threatened species. And speaking of fish, whether you’re an avid angler or a novice, make a note to take your discarded fishing gear or other rubbish home with you. 

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