International Day for Biological Diversity

Countless civilizations were built on the pillar of biodiversity and fell to pieces when the latter was neglected. The plethora of wildlife and the variations of species makes our planet unique. As we progress towards breakthroughs, let's take a moment to look around and be grateful for the biodiversity around us that has helped us thrive and protected us from many harms.
Illustrated by Visual Storytellers at ThisDay

Illustrated by Visual Storytellers at ThisDay

Humans think they're at the top and fail to acknowledge how they wouldn't exist if it weren't for the ecosystems. We might be the apex predators, but we're certainly nothing without the diverse ecosystems that allow us to thrive. In simple terms, what makes our Earth unique is its biodiversity.

Biodiversity refers to the variety of species (flora and fauna) available at each ecosystem level.

As our ecosystems are primarily divided into three categories, terrestrial, aquatic, and aerial, the variety of life found in each of these spheres would be unique and enriching in every way.

The concept of biodiversity doesn't confine itself to the big animals we see on our television screens or the plants that are popularly grown and used for medicine. It includes microorganisms that are impossible to observe with the naked eye and other flora found in exotic places.

Furthermore, the notion of biodiversity isn't limited to aesthetics or the cultural value it adds to our world. Without it, you can be assured that this world wouldn't exist.

When someone asks us to guess just how diverse our planet is, we usually answer, 'a lot'. The reply isn't incorrect, but the truth is that our world is breathtakingly diverse. We probably don't even know about thousands of species that sit comfortably in uncharted habitats.

If you wonder why biodiversity is relevant, then this is for you. A few facts: bees pollinate flowers, thus bearing fruits and flowers. Without them, it wouldn't be possible. Coral reefs and mangroves prevent tsunamis and cyclones, and trees, as we all know, absorb pollutants and give us oxygen, timber, resin, and other things required to sustain human life. While other animals seem to contribute not so directly, let's not forget that every being in the food chain has an essential role to play.

A balanced chain keeps the planet healthy, not to mention the scientific and medicinal breakthroughs that have happened over the years due to extremely rich biodiversity.

Every year on 22nd May, the International Day for Biological Diversity is celebrated to remind everyone of biological diversity, its relevance and the countless issue related to it. The theme for this year is 'Building a shared future for all life.'

Did you know that our beautiful planets Earth has had five mass extinctions? While I won't go into the details of it, scientists have warned us that if we keep neglecting our ecosystems and the destruction of biodiversity, it won't take long for us to witness the sixth mass extinction of our planet.

Loss of biodiversity doesn't only mean material loss. It is an invaluable cultural loss that can't even be replaced or revived despite our best efforts. We've already lost many animals and plants due to human greed and indiscriminate felling and destruction of ecosystems for our gains. The COVID-19 Pandemic is a glaring episode of how devastating zoonotic diseases can be, and they arise when ecosystems and biodiversity are exploited.

We must remember that everything in this world is connected. We need biodiversity to survive, and as long as our ecosystems and its various species are under threat, humanity also faces a threat.

It's time to act on our learnings and practise what we preach by conserving plants and animals, saying no to projects that destroy biospheres and put flora and fauna at risk, and above all, acknowledging the interconnectedness between humanity and biodiversity upon which our world thrives.


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