On the 22nd of May 2021, we come together to celebrate world biodiversity day to increase the understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues around the globe.
Biodiversity is a very broad term encompassing the variety of life on Earth, in all its forms and all its interaction. It includes the 8 million plant and animal species on the planet, the ecosystems that house them, and the genetic diversity among them.
But how exactly is biodiversity so vital to humanity and why is biodiversity a paramount of importance for the stability of the planet? Biodiversity plays a significant role in our lives. It not only maintains a functional environment; it is a resource for food, shelter, clothing and resistance from the spreading of diseases. The economy heavily relies on biodiversity since it provides renewable economic resources and accounts for a heavy chunk of the GDP in various countries. At least 40 percent of the world’s economy and 80 percent of the needs of the poor are derived from biological resources. Furthermore, the food, commercial and ecotourism industries could lose $338 billion per year if the loss of biodiversity continues at its current pace.
If these facts and figures are not sufficient, humans acquire ecosystem services, medical and scientific benefits, and biodiversity is treasured in terms of cultural and aesthetic values in many parts of the world. The benefits humans reap out of biodiversity are unbounding and hence protecting it is of paramount importance.
From the creaking frogs in Chile, Tree Kangaroos in the clouds of Papua New Guinea, Painted dogs in Mozambique to the lost iguanas of Jamaica these are some biodiverse species that have been listed critically endangered by the Red list although conservation efforts are being made to aid their survival.
While on this day we will be celebrating our progress on biodiversity conservation and trying to engage the public in its activities, the outlook given by recent reports remains bleak. Human activities , including deforestation, encroachment on wildlife habitats, intensified agriculture, and acceleration of climate change, have severely impacted every corner of the globe, with countless species facing adversity as a consequence. Today, we humans have altered the system that would naturally shield us, and have created conditions that allow particular pathogens–including coronaviruses to spread.
Billions of individual populations have gone astray all over the planet, with the number of animals living on Earth having scaled down by half since 1970. Moreover; as reported by the World Economic Forum, we have lost more than 60% of our wildlife in just 50 years and.
Biodiversity has dispensed us with innumerable perks and now is time to act for biodiversity; so let’s come together this biodiversity day to be a part of the solution and commemorate the importance of keeping our biodiversity thriving.
The foremost way everyone can participate in the protection of biodiversity is by raising awareness on the subject and becoming knowledgeable about the source of things we buy or consume.
Even small actions can help making big changes in our environment such as communicating as ecologically. Since the Internet also consumes a lot of energy, you can offset CO_2 emissions related to your online activities by buying second-hand electronic devices or opting for eco-friendly search engines such as Ecosia and Lilo.org to name a few.
Attempt selecting supporting local farmers, organic or more sustainably grown products and make an effort to reduce your meat consumption. The economizing in terms of water consumption and carbon emissions will be huge.
And last but not the least, wear eco-friendly clothing. Even ‘natural’ cotton fibres have an impact as their cultivation requires a lot of pesticides and water. That’s why you can use your clothes as long as possible or you give them a second-hand life.
These are a few of the inexhaustible list of changes that might seem trivial but help make a difference. If we want to protect the planet’s biodiversity, we need to curb emissions, reduce toxic air pollution, terminate deforestation, keep our oceans clean, and most importantly fortify endangered species before it is too late.
Biodiversity is the key and remains the solution to a number of sustainable development dilemmas that we all face. From nature-based solutions to climate, to food and water security, and livelihoods, it endures the basis for a sustainable future. If we don’t recoup and nurture this biodiversity today, we will not leave behind a future for tomorrow.