Dr. Laura DeWald Speaks on Biodiversity Preservation at Speakers Forum

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Screenshot-Dr-Laura-DeWald-fnContributed by WPCC Student Writer Colby Carr

MORGANTON–On Thursday, November 6, 2014, students and faculty had the privilege of welcoming Dr. Laura DeWald as she delivered her incredibly informative presentation regarding the environmental threats to biodiversity. Dr. DeWald is currently an associate professor of Environmental Science, Natural Resource Conservation and Management, and Biology as well as the director of the Environmental Science program at Western Carolina University.

The term “biodiversity” is often misunderstood; however, biodiversity affects nearly every facet of our everyday lives. Biodiversity is composed of various factors such as organisms, habitats, and genetics and is dependent upon constant interaction among these factors. With an estimated extinction rate of 7,000 species annually, it is crucial that biodiversity be preserved. The benefits of biodiversity are seemingly endless: medicine, aesthetics, food, timber, fuel, and more. The loss of biodiversity has heavily contributed to the spread of several diseases including malaria, schistosomiasis, lyme disease, Huntavirus, and west Nile virus.

Upon recognizing that the preservation of biodiversity is a major issue, we can take several steps in order to combat its deterioration. By modifying current and future infrastructure projects in a way that will allow various species of animals to travel, biodiversity can be sustained. Additionally, through the use of species reintroduction experiments, we can foster an expansion of those species that are endangered or facing extinction. Should our communities embrace efforts to protect and improve our environment through effective ecological regulations, many species can easily avoid their impending disappearance; however, these efforts will require the unique talents, skills, and abilities possessed by professionals and concerned individuals in every sector of our society.

The fields of law, philosophy, medicine, sociology, economics, advertising, science, and mathematics will prove to be incredibly important in the battle to defend the ecosystems that have suffered due to a loss of biodiversity. A collaborative effort between public and private entities should also be seriously considered. There is no reason why biodiversity cannot be restored and preserved, and, as a nation, we need to begin to make the difficult but necessary decisions to do so.

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Western Piedmont Community College is situated in the picturesque rolling foothills of Morganton, North Carolina, and has served the citizens of Burke County since 1964.  Each year, more than 10,700 students pursue personal enrichment, new skills for a job or career, high school diplomas, college degrees, and transfer pathways. The application due date for new students for Spring Semester 2015 is Tuesday, Dec. 9.  Apply online or visit the Western Piedmont campus to apply in person.