I love the word ‘biodiversity’. Why? Perhaps, it is because the concept is so magnificent, wide and thrilling. The International Day of Biodiversity is here! Biodiversity (coined from Biological Diversity) simply refers to all of the different kinds of life on earth, which includes us, humans too. Biodiversity can be considered the foundation of human health, as if underpins the operation of the ecosystem on which we depend for water, food, shelter, clothing, balanced climate, and the prevention and treatment of diseases.
Biodiversity also provides recreational benefits, economic development, offers aesthetic and spiritual enrichment.
This year’s theme: ‘We are Part of the Solution’ aims to spread awareness about our how we can be part of the solution to biodiversity loss and our environment as a whole.
The loss of biodiversity has been a serious threat- which portends danger for each and every one of us. According to the United Nations (UN), 1 million animals and plants are currently threatened with extinction. Undoubtedly, humans have contributed largely to this problem. The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres said that, ‘As we encroach on nature and deplete vital habitats, increasing numbers of species are at great risk. That includes humans and the future we want’.
What can we do?
We must all see ourselves as part of the solution. Yes! You! All species and organisms are like a complex web linked together that works for the overall benefits of our ecosystem. If one gets extinct, other species will be in danger too. The United Nations rightly says ‘when biodiversity has a problem, humanity has a problem too’.
We need to save biodiversity and act as fast as we can. With some simple changes, we can lessen the disastrous activities of humans on biodiversity:
✅ Avoid plastic use as much as possible
Buy organic foods from local farms
✅ Plant flowers and tress
✅ Switch to renewable energy sources
✅ Reduce, reuse and recycle
✅ Conserve water
✅ Buy and use environmentally friendly products such as ecofriendly appliances, conserving light bulbs, rechargeable batteries, and cosmetics products from natural oils.
✅ Car pool and other sustainable means of transportation
✅ Volunteer for environmental causes
✅ Donate to environmental projects and organizations such as tree planting projects and restaurants that use recycled products
✅Push for policies that protect biodiversity.
These simple highlighted activities can go a long way in protecting biodiversity. We need to commit to practices that consider our diverse ecosystem and habitats. Protecting biological diversity is one course of action we can adopt to create the sustainable future we want – it is in our self interest. Our need for pieces of nature is very important, as ecological services will be costly or absolutely impossible to replace. The vast array of interactions among the various components of biodiversity makes the planet habitable for all species, human inclusive.
Professor E.O. Wilson, often called the ‘father of biodiversity’ stated in his 1985 seminal paper:
‘Each higher organism is richer in information than a Caravaggio painting, a Bach fugue, or any other great work…We should preserve every scrap of biodiversity as priceless, while we learn to use it and understand what it means to humanity’.
Just like I stated in my World Earth Day post, I’m reiterating here: just as humans are deemed the greatest contributor to biodiversity loss, we can also be the greatest solution to the problem.
Aanawureyi Ohine Joy is a Bachelor of Laws graduate from the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University. She is a passionate environmentalist who loves celebrating international days. She can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org