Entwined we are, connected we are, dependent on each other, yes, we are.
Each day, we see the trademarks of biological diversity in trees rooted for years, natural processes, and through the influence of humans. All of these characters form the web of life, of which we, humans, are an integral part, and on which we fully depend.
Do you know that scientists have identified more than 13 million species of plants and animals?
Diversity is often understood as a wide variety of plants, animals and micro-organisms. Biological diversity is the variety of life on Earth, and the natural patterns which are formed. Biological diversity also includes genetic differences; it is our genetic building blocks that determine the uniqueness of each species of life.
Do you know that ecosystems are a part of biodiversity?
In each ecosystem — be it in the desert, forest, agricultural lands, wetlands, mountains, lakes or rivers — living creatures form communities. Within these communities, there are interactions with each other and with the air, water and soil. The combination of these life forms and their interactions with their immediate environments has made this Earth a uniquely habitable place for humans.
Do you know that approximately 1 million plants and animal species are now threatened with extinction?
Extinction, even though being a part of evolution, has seen species vanishing each day. However, it is sad to say that humans are driving this extinction at an alarmingly fast rate from the actions of deforestation and overconsumption to pollution.
In Guyana, a plethora of biodiversity is important in ecosystems, because it prevents extinction of our species, allows organisms to adapt to changes in the environment, and provides a wide range of materials and foods for mankind’s survival. As such Guyana, in 1992, signed on to an agreement to pledge its commitment to “sustainable development”: the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD). This convention came into force on December 29, 1993 with three main objectives: Conservation of biological diversity; Sustainable use of the components of biological diversity; and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources. Further, in December 2000, the United Nations General Assembly adopted May 22 as International Day of Biological Diversity (IDB).
Did you know May 22 was adopted as IDB because it was difficult for many countries to plan and carry out celebrations in December, given the number of holiday activities which coincide?
As the global community is being summoned to relook at its relationship with nature, one thing is quite evident: even with all the technological advances, we are still fully dependent on a “healthy and vibrant ecosystem”.
A healthy environment provides the essentials for the existence of all species. It provides for the continuation of the web of life. Healthy and vibrant biological diversities provide cleaner waters; safer foods; shelter, medicines, clothes, and sources of energy.
This year, International Day of Biological Diversity aims to tell a story as we bear witness to the final period for the 2011-2020 strategic plan on Biological Diversity. The year 2020 is a year of reflection, availability, opportunity, and solutions. We can “bend the curve”; all biodiversity is not lost.
So, as we celebrate International Day of Biological Diversity on May 22, in this COVID-19 pandemic, let’s remember there is hope. Let us work together to build a future of life in harmony with nature.
International Day of Biological Diversity: May 22- “Our Solutions are in Nature”