May 22 is international day for biological diversity! Biodiversity is the variety and variability of life on Earth at the genetic, species, and ecosystem level. Biological diversity is under threat from our human influence such as poaching and deforestation. We are the only species that has an impact like this.
Species extinction is increasing at a massive and terrifying rate. Polar bears are under threat from climate change and associated loss of sea ice. Orangutan populations in Borneo have decreased by 50% in the last 16 years (70% of this loss attributed to hunting & habitat loss caused by deforestation and logging). Whales, seabirds and turtles are under threat from an increasingly chemical-laden ocean soup, washing up on shores with stomachs full of plastic. Creatures need our help and protection (from us) and the losses and impacts highlight the need to improve conservation of these species for future generations (and often our own survival).
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. That’s a good and (literally) natural thing. We often forget to include humans as animals too – we’re one species of many millions on Earth.
The 2020 theme for the International Day of Biological Diversity “our solutions are in nature” emphasizes hope, solidarity and the importance of working together at all levels to build a future of life in harmony with nature. It is expected, from each of us, that we will #buildbackbetter by using this time to increase the resilience of nations and communities as we recover from this pandemic. 2020 is the year when, more than ever, the world can signal a strong will for a global framework that will bend the curve on biodiversity loss for the benefit of humans and all life on Earth. We’ve got a beginners guide to biodiversity coming out shortly (it’s a biggie – Rachael and Em have been hard at work on it!).