Trinity Promoting the Benefits of Biodiversity to Local Community

Posted on: 23 August 2012

Biodiversity In Our Lives, a Trinity College Dublin Biodiversity Group, recently launched a
series of biodiversity-themed beer mats and a website aimed at encouraging public interest and dialogue about the value of biodiversity in Ireland. 

The pilot scheme involved the creation of beer mats which were distributed to ten pubs surrounding the Trinity campus, providing pub-goers with information about biodiversity. The beer mats feature engaging facts about how biodiversity plays a part in our everyday lives. Some of the interesting biodiversity facts appearing on the beer mats include:

– It takes at least 4 bees to produce the apples to make your pint of cider!
– Bees and other pollinators are responsible for 30% of the food we eat – A service valued at €153 billion per year.
– The unique chemistry of rivers helps salmon find their way when they migrate.

Flamingo beer mat

“In this time of global change and uncertainty, the rapid decline of species diversity is already having negative impacts on our lives,” stated Biodiversity In Our Lives team member, Erin Jo Tiedeken. “Public awareness concerning these problems is lacking, for example, few people are aware that farmers worldwide are concerned about reduced crop yields due to the loss of pollinator abundance and diversity.  The group aims to involve the public by sharing ways in which biodiversity is important for them, thereby making it a commodity that people will value and try to conserve.” 

Biodiversity is the variety of life including animals, plants, micro-organisms, and genes, and the environments and systems within which they are found. In Ireland alone the ecosystem services resulting from biodiversity, such as pollination and water filtration, are valued at €2.6 billion per annum. The TCD Biodiversity In Our Lives group hopes that the campaign will spark conversation in pubs around Dublin about biodiversity and lead to better awareness of its importance.

Biodiversity In Our Lives is group of postgraduate students and staff from Trinity’s School of Natural Sciences studying and researching a range of subjects including botany, zoology, geography, and the environment, all of which focus on biodiversity. The group was established in 2011 as a working group of the Trinity Centre for Biodiversity Research with the aims of highlighting the everyday services that biodiversity can provide,  encouraging links between research conducted in the university and the public, as well as finding unique ways of sharing the results of the group’s research.

It hopes to expand the beer mat project to pubs throughout Dublin and ideally countrywide.  The pilot project was funded by a grant from the Small Changes, Big Difference competition run by the Trinity College Dublin Alumni Office earlier this year.

“We are very happy to unveil this first effort” said team member, Eileen Diskin. “We are very proud of the project which showcases how the knowledge generated within a university can be shared with the general public in a fun and engaging way.”