Since 1992, World Biodiversity Day has been celebrated on May 22nd. And this year’s theme is “Our solutions are in nature.” The goal is to reflect on how we can protect and strengthen biodiversity around the planet.
And by doing so, create new opportunities and solutions from within nature.
A big part of this year’s theme is in response to COVID-19. In fact, this year will be the first-ever online awareness campaign. The goal of raising awareness is so we “build back better” when the pandemic ends.
What is Biodiversity?
Biodiversity is the collection of living things that make up life on Earth. This encompasses the 8.7 million species that live on the planet. It includes all forms of life including animals, fish, plants, fungi, and bacteria.
And it also includes the ecosystems that these species live in, the oceans, mountains, forests, deserts, and other habitats.
With the most important ecosystem being forests. They are home to 80% of amphibian species, 75% of bird species, and 68% of mammal species. And as they disappear, the unique species go along with them.
It is thanks to the multitude of unique life on our planet that humanity as a species is able to thrive. Biodiversity is what we have to thank for our great diet. It lets us experience so many unique fruits, vegetables, fish, and meat as a result.
Why Is Biodiversity Important?
Biodiversity is important for a lot of reasons.
The most well-known importance of biodiversity is the food we eat. It allows us to have a broad, nutritious, and delicious diet that is only possible because of the wide variety of life on the planet.
If biodiversity diminishes, then the food choices available become limited.
Modern medicine heavily relies on unique plant life. In just the United States, 118 out of 150 of the top prescription drugs are based on natural sources. And there are plenty of other medicines that also rely on plant populations that are diminishing.
There are certainly new discoveries to be made in this field.
A study has also found that a healthy ecosystem can significantly reduce the emergence of Zoonotic diseases. For reference, COVID-19 is a type of Zoonotic disease. These diseases reach humans when habitats are destroyed and species that do not normally make contact with humans do so.
And of course, biodiversity and nature are a huge factor when it comes to the global economy. In fact, over 44 trillion dollars, which is more than half of the world’s total GDP, rely on nature. This should come as no surprise because agriculture, food and beverage production, and construction are the most reliant on nature.
How You Can Help
The best way everyone can help is to raise awareness on the subject. If we want to protect the planet’s biodiversity, we need to curb emissions, reduce toxic air pollution, stop deforestation, keep our oceans clean, and most importantly protect endangered species.
You can help significantly by raising awareness of these subjects and donating to foundations that help protect the environment.