Wednesday, 22 May 2013

International Day for Biological Diversity

‘We have not finished exploring the beauty of our planet’s biological diversity, nor have we fully gauged its role in humanity’s well-being and survival – yet we have begun to destroy it.’
Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

As we go through today I wonder how many people are aware that it is International Day for Biological Diversity. With all the other pressing problems we face it is easy to forget that biodiversity loss is one the biggest issues of our time and we ignore it at our peril.

‘So far, our growing concern has focused on the level of CO2 in the atmosphere, and the associated changes in climate that directly affect us, such as reduced crop yields and rising sea levels. There are far more serious issues that are not given the attention they deserve. These range from slowly rising levels of background radiation from our nuclear activities, and the gradual poisoning of the oceans, to the loss of biodiversity and destruction of natural habitats’ (McManners 2009: Page 60).
We have become ever more capable of pushing nature aside to build our magnificent concrete jungle and expand the capacity of our industrialised agriculture hoping that nature will always be there for us.

‘We can be sure, using advanced measurement and imaging technology that we can record accurately the world we now have. There are growing archives of satellite imagery, photographs, film and video. Our descendents should be able to view the Earth as it used to be, with a vast reservoir of biodiversity in the rainforests and oceans. Whether we will have any live examples of nature to accompany the archives depends on what we do now’ (McManners 2009: Page 203).

The question is whether we allow the steamroller of human progress to crush all before it or invite nature back into our lives to enjoy its bounty and marvel in its diversity. For my part, I would like to work with nature, use its services and ensure we keep the biodiversity that we will need for a safe and vibrant future.

McManners, P.J. 2009. Victim of Success: Civilization at Risk, Susta Press, UK.

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