Ranjan K Baruah
(With direct inputs from UN/WHO publication and feedback may be sent to email@example.com)
We are familiar with the word biodiversity, though it is used less in comparison with words like nature or environment. Biodiversity or biological diversity is the variety and variability of life on the Earth. It describes the assets and variety of life on the planet. Without biodiversity none of us can live healthy. It includes the number of different organisms and their relative frequencies in an ecosystem.
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).
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 much as 80 per cent of people living in rural areas in developing countries rely on traditional plant?based medicines for basic healthcare. But 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 coronavirus.
There is no doubt that it holds ecological and economic significance. We cannot ignore that without biodiversity we are nothing and in spite of many advancement and innovations, still we have to be dependent on biodiversity for our daily needs. Despite all our technological advances we are completely dependent on healthy and vibrant ecosystems for our water, food, medicines, clothes, fuel, shelter and energy, etc,
To generate awareness and actions 22nd May is observed as International Day for Biological Diversity. The United Nations Biodiversity Convention announced the slogan for the 2022 International Day for Biological Diversity as 'Building a Shared Future for all Life', which highlights biodiversity as the foundation upon which we can build back better. The slogan conveys that biodiversity, from ecosystem-based approaches to climate and/or nature-based solutions to climate, health, food/water security and sustainable livelihoods is the answer to many sustainable development challenges.
The theme of this year is fitting within the context of the ongoing United Nations Decade on Restoration, which highlights that biodiversity is the answer to several sustainable development challenges, the slogan conveys the message that biodiversity is the foundation upon which we can build back better.
We must know that when biodiversity has a problem, humanity has a problem. We should learn that current negative trends in biodiversity and ecosystems will undermine progress towards 80 per cent of the assessed targets of 8 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Three-quarters of the land-based environment and about 66 per cent of the marine environment have been significantly altered by human actions and 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction.
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is the international legal instrument for "the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources" that has been ratified by 196 nations. Its overall objective is to encourage actions, which will lead to a sustainable future.
The conservation of biodiversity must be a common concern of humankind. All of us must take action for the preservation and conservation of biodiversity. Protection of biodiversity means our self-protection and hence all of us must contribute and take part positively to restore ecosystems and safeguard biodiversity. The day is an opportunity to raise issues and concerns and bring potential solutions. Let us not forget that we do not have any other planet to live, so all of us must take part when it comes to safeguarding biodiversity.