Biodiversity: what’s happening

How many different kinds of plants can you find in the picture? Have you any idea what they might be? Which insects eat them? Which animals depend on the insects? And this picture is from a relatively poor area in terms of biodiversity!

Global challenge

One of the biggest challenges for our planet at the moment is the loss of biodiversity worldwide. The following link is a comprehensive report from the UN in 2019 showing the loss of biodiversity on or planet, but also what we can do about it, if we were to get our act together!

Local Answers

So what can we do ourselves? One possibility is to ask garden owners to tolerate a bit of disorder in a designated area of the garden. The picture below shows a few helpful tips for a back garden e.g. leave a dead tree standing, let hops grow over wire fencing, leave bundles of twigs and leaves stacked as possible refuges, and encourage native plants such as hazel or blackberries to grow. If you can, leave enough space under a fence to let hedgehogs move freely. Try to limit the use of pesticides and use the mildest version possible. When planting flowers, look for varieties which are bee friendly.

If you have a patch facing a road, let the grass grow a little bit longer. Plant some clover, it survives better in the droughts. Have a heart for your local street trees – they will be very happy if you can give them a bucket of water or two in dry conditions.


Politics: International and Regional

Another possibility is to politically support organisations which wish to alter subsidies to farmers, so that they receive benefits for leaving parts of their land fallow, which works as a refuge for a wide variety of plants and animals. The EU is instrumental in determining the environmental policy of the member states. One of its flagship projects are the designation of protected sites in the Natura 2000 programme. Berlin alone has 15 Natura 2000 sites and Brandenburg has many more. ALthough the EU is active in working on many topics to improve sustainability as can be see here:, it is useful to get in touch with the local MEP and give feedback as a concerned citizen.

On a local level, write to the local Bezirk, asking them to not mow grass verges too often, leave dead wood lying and plant indigenous species in the parks.

Example: The Grünflächenamt Steglitz-Zehlendorf shows some of the activities that Bezirke do.

sustainability in schools/Nachhaltigkeit in der Schule

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