Biological diversity is an invaluable global asset that must be safeguarded for future generations. Yet, this biodiversity is increasingly threatened by human activities such as deforestation, overfishing, and pollution, which are dramatically reducing the number of species.
Recognizing the critical need for public awareness on this matter, the United Nations decided to annually celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity, a day that highlights our responsibility to protect the natural world.
In an era of rapid technological advancement and increasing global connectivity, we must reassess our relationship with nature. The reality is that our survival depends on the health of the world’s ecosystems.
Our water, food, medicine, clothing, fuel, shelter, and energy all stem from the invaluable resources provided by nature, underscoring the urgency of nurturing and conserving our planet’s biological diversity.
Protecting and restoring biological diversity has never been more crucial, or more possible. This year presents an unprecedented opportunity for biodiversity conservation.
The adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework in December 2022 has set a groundbreaking precedent for our battle against nature’s loss. The historic agreement lays out definitive goals aimed at halting and eventually reversing the devastating loss of nature by 2050.
This transformative commitment is the inspiration for this year’s International Day for Biological Diversity and its theme: “From agreement to action: build back biodiversity.” The globally agreed-upon action plan must be implemented in its entirety before 2030, setting the stage for a thriving, sustainable ecosystem by 2050.
This powerful call to action comes from the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Recognized as the primary global mechanism advocating for sustainable development, the CBD emphasizes that our future rests heavily on how effectively we implement measures that are not merely reactive but also preemptive, to nurture and conserve our world’s biological diversity
“Biological diversity has a problem, humanity has a problem,” says the CBD. The concept of biodiversity extends beyond wildlife to the genetic variability within individual species, such as crop varieties and livestock breeds, and the diversity of ecosystems that sustain interactions among their inhabitants.
Biological diversity serves as the foundation upon which our civilizations are built, providing resources that are integral to our survival and well-being. For example, the critical role of fish as a primary protein source cannot be overstated. Fish fulfill 20 percent of the animal protein needs for an estimated three billion people globally. Meanwhile, plants are responsible for over 80 percent of the human diet.
Furthermore, the importance of traditional plant-based medicines is magnified in the context of rural communities within developing nations. In these regions, conventional healthcare facilities may be inaccessible or insufficient, making traditional plant-based remedies indispensable.
These natural remedies cater to the basic healthcare needs of as many as 80 percent of individuals in developing areas, emphasizing the vital role that biodiversity plays in human health and well-being.
The International Day for Biological Diversity is an important reminder of the connection between human society and the network of life that sustains us. Protecting this biodiversity is not just an ecological necessity, but also a critical step in safeguarding the future health and prosperity of humanity.
While government policies, business practices, and large-scale conservation efforts play significant roles in protecting biodiversity, individual actions can also contribute immensely. Here are some ways individuals can contribute to preserving biological diversity:
Consuming responsibly is perhaps the most direct way we can lessen our impact on biodiversity. This includes opting for sustainably sourced products, reducing waste, and minimizing the use of plastic and other non-biodegradable materials.
Buying locally sourced, organic food not only reduces your carbon footprint due to decreased transport distances, but it also encourages diverse local flora and fauna by promoting environmentally friendly farming practices.
Planting native plants in your gardens or local community spaces can enhance local ecosystems by providing habitats and food sources for local wildlife.
Lowering your consumption of energy reduces the demand for non-renewable resources and decreases greenhouse gas emissions, thereby mitigating the impacts of climate change on biodiversity.
Participate in local biodiversity surveys or monitoring programs. This type of citizen science can help scientists and conservationists monitor local wildlife populations and identify emerging threats.
Raise awareness about the importance of biodiversity among friends, family, and your community. The more people understand and appreciate the role of biodiversity, the more likely they are to take action to protect it.
Contribute time, resources, or money to organizations committed to biodiversity conservation.
Engage in local, national, or international policy advocacy to protect natural habitats and demand sustainable practices.
Every action, no matter how small, can have a positive impact on the planet’s biodiversity. It all begins with an understanding of the essential role that biodiversity plays in our lives and a commitment to preserving it for future generations.