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Page last updated at 12:12 GMT, Thursday, 7 May 2009 13:12 UK
Biodiversity is the spark of life
Let me elaborate: it is demand for the latest mobile phones that has made the metal coltan so valuable, leading to conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
That conflict has caused deforestation, which has seen a decline in the number of forest mammals.
As a result, more people demand more fish as an alternative protein, leading to overfishing of species higher up the food chain.
Fishermen, in turn, have shifted their focus to species further down the food chain, reducing their population. This has allowed jellyfish become the lower reaches of the food chain.
Hence, a possible reason why large blooms of jellyfish were invading the south coast of England.
Web of life
Every form of life on this planet stands not on its own but is supported by, and supports, other living things.
Lose one species and you lose a vital part of some ecosystem.
That means you lose not just a plant or an insect but a service: you lose the medicine that comes from that plant; you lose the pollination of crops which that insect provides.
Climate change matters, not because the world mustn't get any hotter, but because the rate of change is too fast for species to keep pace.
As species die, so biodiversity is depleted and with it the ecosystem services that such biodiversity provides.
How ridiculous then that over the last three months, climate change has had 1,382 mentions in British national newspapers.
Yet, during the same period, biodiversity was mentioned just 115 times.
We have ignored the circus and focused on the side show.
Well-intentioned campaigning organisations have fed us with sentimental descriptions of the polar bear, giant panda and blue whale.
However, these arguments for biodiversity have proven to be much less compelling for business leaders than Nicholas Stern's report that climate change could cost us between 5% and 20% of global GDP by the end of the century.
Yet, the head of Deutsche Bank's Global Markets predicts that our current rate of biodiversity loss could see 6% of global GDP wiped out as early as 2050.
Climate change does not just lead to biodiversity loss; causality works the other way around too.
It is the loss of forest that is causing climate change. It would be comforting to think that we can control this process, which is linear and predictable.
It is not. In nature, disruptions to the equilibrium led to turbo-charged changes.
Yet nobody puts a value on pollination; national accounts do not reflect the value of ecosystem services that stop soil erosion or provide watershed protection.
Economists call these externalities: things which we can take for granted and need not be ascribed a value. The economists are wrong. Unless we begin to value this natural capital in exactly the same way we value human or social capital, we will not begin to tackle the problem.
Isn't it ironic that the UK has a treasury department that spends most of its time talking about over-leveraging in the financial system and credit bubbles, but cannot see the connection with a world that every year consumes resources that it takes the planet one year and four months to renew or replace?
The problems is that biodiversity is still left as the responsibility of environment ministers, who are usually relatively junior.
They do not have the clout to make changes across government policy.
Biodiversity should be, as climate change is beginning to be, a heads of governments' issue.
Just as climate change has moved out of its environment cul-de-sac into mainstream government thinking to influence decisions on everything from transport to development and energy policies, so biodiversity and the ecosystem services they provide need to be considered in every government decision.
The issue lacks a body like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to provide scientific assessments and advice to governments and the public.
Most important of all, we need a global agreement with teeth to protect biodiversity that captures the imagination like Kyoto.
Otherwise, the hordes of jellyfish will be the least of our problems.
Barry Gardiner is the Labour MP for Brent North, and co-chairman of the Global Legislators Organisation (Globe) Land Use Change & Ecosystems Dialogue
The Green Room is a series of opinion articles on environmental topics running weekly on the BBC News website