WORLD BIODIVERSITY DAY
Sustainability now is the new developmental paradigm. Unlike the past, when development aimed only at raising the quality of life of only present generation, sustainable development aims at raising the quality of present generation without compromising with the future generations. Sustainable development refers to the various processes and pathways to achieve it. Many challenges confront sustainable development. These challenges also need to be tackled in a manner which is eco-friendly, conserves natural resources, does not harms our biodiversity or becomes a threat to the life on this planet. Biodiversity conservation can go a long way in sustainable development. It is not wrong to the say that bio-diversity remains the answer to several sustainable development challenges. 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. From ecosystem-based approaches to climate and/or 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. That is the main message from the CBD, key international instrument for sustainable development.
The word ‘Biodiversity’ has been generated from two words ‘biological’ and ‘diversity’. It refers to all the variety of life that can be found on earth like plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms. Also, it refers to the communities that they form and the habitats in which they live. The article 2 of the Convention on Biological Diversity has given a formal definition of Biological diversity. The Biological Diversity there is defined as the variability among living organisms from all sources including inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems. Thus we can say that ‘Biodiversity’ is the combination of life forms and their interactions with each other and with the rest of the environment that has made Earth is a uniquely habitable place for humans. Its rich biodiversity has been a source of life to millions and millions of different organisims on this planet. Biodiversity provides us a large number of goods and services that sustain our lives. It encompasses a variety of life on earth and the natural patterns it forms. The biodiversity we see today is the fruit of billions of years of evolution, shaped by natural processes and, increasingly by the influence of humans. It forms the web of life of which we are an integral part and upon which we so fully depend.
Unfortunately, when men today is not looking to fulfill their needs, but has moved towards greed. The large scale destruction of trees, the hunting of animals, the pollution of water bodies, the air we breathe, the degradation of soil and the loss of soil fertility all are the consequences of human being playing with nature. Playing with nature brought havoc on this planet. The most worrisome part is that the human interference with nature has resulted in a loss of biodiversity. In the last hundred years, more than 90 percent of crop varieties have disappeared from farmers' fields. Half of the breeds of many domestic animals have been lost, and all of the world's 17 main fishing grounds are now being fished at or above their sustainable limits. Locally-varied food production systems are under threat, including related indigenous, traditional and local knowledge. With this decline, agro biodiversity is disappearing, and also essential knowledge of traditional medicine and local foods. The loss of diverse diets is directly linked to diseases or health risk factors, such as diabetes, obesity and malnutrition, and has a direct impact on the availability of traditional medicines. Biological resources are the pillars upon which we build civilizations. The loss of biodiversity threatens our food supplies, opportunities for recreation and tourism, and sources of wood, medicines, and energy.
History of IBD
Keeping in mind the importance of biological diversity and the threats to it, the United Nations celebrates International Biodiversity Day or World Biodiversity day on May 22, every year. It is celebrated to thank nature and what all it bring to us. This global event, which is held on the 22nd of May since year 2000; it was created in 1993 but its first seven editions were held on the 29th of December, aims to promote and raise global awareness of issues related to the planet's biodiversity. When first created by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly in late 1993, 29 December (the date of entry into force of the Convention of Biological Diversity), was designated ‘The International Day for Biological Diversity. In December 2000’, the UN General Assembly adopted 22 May as IDB, to commemorate the adoption of the text of the Convention on 22 May 1992 by the Nairobi Final Act of the Conference for the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity. This was partly done because it was difficult for many countries to plan and carry out suitable celebrations for the date of 29 December, given the number of holidays that coincide around that time of year.
The United Nations does celebrate this day with different themes every year. Celebrating such days with a specific theme aims to leverage knowledge and spread awareness of the dependency of our food systems, nutrition, and health on biodiversity and healthy ecosystems. This all has the ultimate aim of conserving our precious biodiversity. This year the theme of the day is ‘Building a shared future for all life’. As the global community is called to re-examine its relationship to the natural world, one thing is certain: despite all our technological advances we are completely dependent on healthy and vibrant ecosystems for our health, water, food, medicines, clothes, fuel, shelter and energy, just to name a few. So, the global community has to reexamine is relationship with the nature. This year’s theme ‘Building a shared future for all life’ emphasizes the interdependence all the living organisims have on each other and how all of us can strengthen this interrelationships to build a future based on sharing of the resources for their best possible use. It also calls for creating civilizations based on respect for ecology and nature based solutions.
Towards Ecological Civilization
Ecological civilization in a broad sense includes not only respecting nature and sharing the values of common prosperity with nature but also encompasses the method of production, economic foundation and superstructure, i.e. the institutional system developed under the guidance of such values, which create a form of social civilization characterized by the progress of humans and nature in harmony, highly advanced productivity, all-round development of culture, and sustained social prosperity. The method of production in ecological civilization is not a linear model of natural resources going through the production process of becoming products and wastes but pursues the efficiency of material output on the premise of ecological rationalism rather than the maximization of output. Ecological civilization pursues all-round human development and quality of life. In contrast to passive deference to nature advocated by ancient philosophers more than 2,000 years ago, the contemporary concept of ecological civilization represents unity between humans and nature on the basis of applying modern science and technology and an advanced understanding of nature. Such a type of civilization calls for unity and harmony between nature and humans supported by modern science, technology and economic development.
On this day let all of us also pledge to work on the principle of reducing, reusing and recycling of the products. We have to go for practices like organic and natural farming which conserve our biodiversity. Avoid single-use plastics like plastic straws, coffee cups, plastic cutlery, take out containers or plastic water bottles and promotion of local and indigenous biodiversity for food and nutrition are some of the issues which we have to look into and adopt in our daily life; if we are serious to conserve our biodiversity and our planet. Ultimately, it is the Biodiversity that affects the well-being of humanity and provides the very basis for the human race to survive and thrive.
(The author is Scientist at SKUAST-K and can be reached at email@example.com)