Date: 5 June 2020
The theme of World Environment Day 2020 is 'Celebrating Biodiversity' - a concern that is both urgent and existential. The fact is that the current environmental crisis is a warning that we must heed collectively. We must now fundamentally rethink our relationship with the living world, with natural ecosystems and their biodiversity.
The year 2020 began with environmental crisis revealing itself in a disturbing manner across the world. The coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19), cyclones and floods are a few of these.
Biodiversity: Biodiversity is the variety of life on earth which includes different species of plants and animals in an environment.
Importance of biodiversity
1.Biodiversity is the foundation for human health which ultimately depends upon ecosystem products and services (such as availability of fresh water, food and fuel sources) which in turn, is a requisite for good human health and productive livelihoods.
2.Diversity of microorganisms, flora and fauna provide extensive knowledge which carry important benefits for biological health and are important resources for medical research.
3.Biodiversity plays a role in the regulation and control of human diseases and thus biodiversity loss can have significant direct human health impacts if ecosystem services are no longer adequate to meet social needs.
We need to remember that when we disrupt or destroy eco-systems, we shake viruses loose from their natural hosts and sometimes their new hosts may be us. Research suggests that outbreaks of animal-borne and other infectious diseases like Ebola, SARS, bird flu and now COVID-19, caused by a novel coronavirus, are on the rise. Pathogens are crossing from animals to humans, and many are now able to spread quickly to new places.
Therefore, conservation of biodiversity is essential for climate change adaptation because healthy and intact ecosystems can reduce disaster risks while supporting relief and recovery efforts. Sustainable management of biodiversity can help provide essential resources for promoting health and rebuilding livelihoods in post-crisis situations.
We need to be prepared by spreading awareness, re-thinking urban infrastructure planning, putting a stop to forests and other ecological systems being destroyed and most important of all, by changing how we behave as humans.