30th September 2022

Biodiversity and how to protect it

The UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) will be held in December 2022 in Montreal (Canada). With climate extremes manifesting themselves in increasingly intense heatwaves and severe storms in the summer of 2022 in Europe and around the world, there is an urgent need to take a detailed look at the effects of climate change and the impact of human activities on nature and its ecosystems. We talked about this with Dr Kim Schumacher, Lecturer in Sustainable Finance and ESG at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and member of Spuerkeess’s Sustainability Advisory Board.

1. Biodiversity is a very broad topic. Could you explain what this term means and why it’s important to protect biodiversity?

The term biodiversity comprises all living beings and organisms, as well as the ecosystems and habitats in which they live. The term also covers species’ interactions with each other and their environments.

2. Which habitats and species are most endangered in Luxembourg?

Most habitats in Luxembourg are endangered due to construction pressures related to the urban transformation of Luxembourg society. This has led to the increasing fragmentation of the country’s ecosystems. Most vertebrates are therefore endangered, especially those that live in and around rivers, marshes, flooded grasslands and forests. In particular, we should note that a large number of insects are also at risk. The precarious situation that bees find themselves in is one of the best-known examples.

3. What are the main reasons that the most threatened species are endangered?

Land animals such as foxes, deer and weasels are being decimated mainly by Luxembourg’s rapid urbanisation, which has led to the disappearance of natural refuges and of habitats large enough for them to maintain their numbers. Intensive farming, which often depends on pesticides and consists mainly of monocultures (making the soil very sensitive and less fertile) has a significant impact on birds and bats.

The number of insects that serve as their primary source of food is therefore also reduced. Forests and rivers are also affected by climate change: high temperatures put trees and fish under different forms of heat stress. Another factor that negatively affects biodiversity is pollution, whether from industry or human beings (e.g. dumping plastic trash in nature). But these are just a few examples of biodiversity risks.

4. What are the consequences when biodiversity is threatened or out of balance?

Ecosystem services are the many benefits that nature and intact biodiversity provide to satisfy basic human needs (and that are provided to any living organism) while supplying oxygen, food, drinking water and spiritual well-being. Biodiversity is critically important in farming, and the situation can grow dire without the contribution of pollinating animals or organisms that help with soil renewal. If biodiversity is threatened, many direct natural benefits will decrease or disappear entirely, which causes food shortages or conflicts around access to drinking water. The World Economic Forum estimates that about half of all economic activities worldwide depend directly or indirectly on intact biodiversity.

5. Can you give our readers five ways to help preserve biodiversity?

5 useful tips: 

1. Choose biodegradable packaging and reduce packaging in general.

2. Advocate for organic, local and regional food.

3. Drive at reduced speed to avoid collisions with wild animals.

4. Avoid using chemical or synthetic cleaning, hygiene or paint products.

5. Avoid artificial plastic lawns because they prevent insects from accessing the soil and they get hotter than natural lawns.

About the blog:


There is an urgent need for rapid transition to global sustainability. Business and industry have enormous social and environmental impacts. "Why does it matter?" is a bi-monthly blog that aims to elucidate this important topic through the eyes of our experts. 

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