20 Science Questions
that U.S. presidential candidates were asked in 2016
Biodiversity is associated with having healthier species in the ecosystem. Healthier wildlife helps reduce risk of human infection from insect or animal borne diseases.
Funding research into the long term risks and benefits of the agricultural herbicides and pesticides and other industrial chemicals in use would help identify which chemicals may be too damaging for long term use for the ecosystem or for human health, and which should be banned for use or used only in more limited ways or more limited amounts.
Funding research into the risk of genetically modified genes spreading to weeds and producing chemical resistant 'superweeds' and how to reduce that risk from occurring needs to be done for the safety of the future ecosystem of plants, animals and soil microbes. The environment includes many life forms which interact with each other and with the nutrients and toxins found in their surrounding air, water, and soil.
It is an ethical question, we are designing and patenting new forms of life in ways that are not possible with normal plant hybridization techniques. Funding a jobs program for teams to provide the hands-on-labor necessary to clear invasive plants and animals manually, instead of with applications of harsh chemicals, would not only support the economy in the present, it could also be helping to protect biodiversity into the future.
Many of the agricultural chemicals approved for use do have some negative impact on the healthy microbes that are a natural and essential part of soil and water. Fertilizer run-off into ocean water can increase risk of toxic algal blooms which can also affect the health of other ocean species which eat or swim through the areas with a change in algae growth.
20 Science Questions for the 2016 Presidential Candidates --by Shawn Otto for sciencedebate.org; See the questions here: #4