Of course, I realise this isn’t a very productive stance to take. I really do care about our local environment and want to be a part of a community that values and protects it. Maybe making an effort to identify the animals and plants around me, their names, their morphology, the calls they make, would be another contribution I could make to increasing awareness – and getting others to think about doing the same may be even better. So in this article I’ve decided to see if I can convert myself, and those like me (but if you’re already a wizz at IDing, just come along for the ride and feel good about the positive impact you might already be making!).
So I did a little bit of research, and I’ve found arguments for caring seem to fall into two broad groups – benefits to the individual, and benefits to the environment.
Firstly, the benefits for ourselves: as you may be aware, even a small amount of nature in our daily lives is extremely beneficial. Being outside and connecting with nature has been linked to improvements in mental and physical health. But being busy people, it may sometimes be hard to stop and take a moment to recognise those small occurrences of nature in the daily hustle and bustle. One way to do this (and therefore reap the benefits) may be simply to name it – therefore bringing it to the forefront of your thoughts.
Can you picture it? “Oh isn’t that a beautiful magpie-lark that’s just landed next to me while I wait for my coffee! Isn’t the world a beautiful place!” *happy sigh* (or more likely something similar but infinitely less cheesy).
In terms of the big picture, being able to name something also goes a long way. Taxonomy is extremely important for conservation because, of course, we need to know what we have before we can begin conserving it. For instance, being able to tell the difference between invasive and native species is very important – how else could we combat harmful species and maintain healthy ecosystems?