Biological diversity is often understood in terms of the wide variety of plants, animals and microorganisms, but it also includes genetic differences within each species. For example, between varieties of crops and breeds of livestock and the variety of ecosystems (lakes, forest, deserts, agricultural landscapes) that host multiple kind of interactions among their members (humans, plants, animals).
Despite all of man’s technological advances we are completely dependent on healthy and vibrant ecosystems for our water, food, medicines, clothes, fuel, shelter and energy, just to name a few. As such, the global community is called to re-examine our relationship to the natural world.
Today is International Day for Biological Diversity, and the theme for this year is “We’re part of the solution”. Come to think of it, we have to be, seeing that for centuries, we have been a major part of the problem of bio-diversity depletion. The slogan was chosen by the United Nations to be a continuation of the momentum generated last year under the over-arching theme, “Our solutions are in nature”, which served as a reminder that biodiversity remains the answer to several sustainable development challenges.
The Crux of the Matter
From nature-based solutions to climate, health issues, food and water security, and sustainable livelihoods, biodiversity is the foundation upon which we can build back better, because when biodiversity has a problem, humanity has a problem.
Biological diversity resources are the pillars upon which we build civilizations. Fish provide 20 per cent of animal protein to about 3 billion people. Over 80 per cent of the human diet is provided by plants.
As many as 80 per cent of people living in rural areas in developing countries rely on traditional plant‐based medicines for basic healthcare.
The loss of biodiversity threatens all, including our health.
It has been proven that biodiversity loss could expand zoonoses – diseases transmitted from animals to humans- while, on the other hand, if we keep biodiversity intact, it offers excellent tools to fight against pandemics like those caused by coronaviruses.
While there is a growing recognition that biological diversity is a global asset of tremendous value to future generations, the number of species is being significantly reduced by certain human activities. Given the importance of public education and awareness about this issue, the UN decided to celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity annually.
Credit; The United Nations.