Salt water of the ocean where the dolphins swim against the waves, the golden sunset of the desert where the camels reside, the soothing chirping of birds in the rain forest as the sun rises and roaring tigers in the jungles – earth will not be Earth without all these species who make this planet so vibrant.
We the habitants of planet earth are blessed with ecosystems in which different kinds of species of plants, animals, birds and other organisms flourish. These diversities in the nature are not merely for the pleasure of eyes, rather they play a vital role in balancing the environment. Today, there are 10 to 14 millions of spices living on earth, all of which are integral part of our ecosystems and food chain. Extinction of even one species means the entire ecosystems gets disfigured. When we chop down trees in the jungle we also destroy shelters of birds and insects that live on them, cutting down the food supply of animals feeding on the fruits and leaves of the trees. Thus, removal of even one element from the ecosystem can disturb the entire balance of the ecological unit.
With more than 7 billion population, we humans are the dominant species on the planet. What makes us different from the rest of the species is our ability to think and with the help of science, we have come out of the jungle. Our continuous quest for progress led us to witness industrial revolution. We have been unstoppable when it comes to modernisation. As a result, we have blindly exploited natural resources to earn maximum profit and along the way ignored the well-being of other species that have equal right to live. After years of plundering, today, we are witnessing the results of the damage we have done to the environment. Increasing temperature, melting glaciers, disturbed weather cycle, increasing pollution and extinction of many species have adversely affected us as well. Realising the importance of safeguarding the environment, the world stands together to take initiatives for protecting the natural habitat of millions of species. One such initiative is International Biodiversity Day which is dedicated to spreading awareness about issues related to biological diversity in the world. In December 2000, United Nations General Assembly adopted 22 May as International Biological Diversity Day with the view to conserve biological diversity of the planet. The theme for this year is “Biodiversity for sustainable development”.
We are living in an era where we are more concerned about techno diversity than biodiversity. For us, development is measured by construction of bullet trains, cemented roads and concrete jungles. For this, we burn our forests, pollute the sea and divert the flow of rivers. By doing so, we destroy the natural habitat of millions of species. As per the survey of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 16306 species are threatened with extinction. Today, when we speak about sustainable development, we must realise that it cannot be achieved without conserving biodiversity. It plays a major role in providing clean secure supply of water, nutrients, clean air and regulation of pest and vector based diseases. Along with this, it ensures sustainable livelihood, especially to the people working in agricultural sector which is a large chunk of population of the world. Bio diversity is essential for a healthy living and good health is a sign of development. It’s not just about protecting the environment anymore, it’s about developing the nations with the help of environment by using renewable sources of energy, developing industries like ecotourism, promoting organic farming etc.
Apart from being one of the fastest growing nations in the world, India is also a hub of biodiversity. Listed among the 18 mega diverse countries, India hosts three biodiverse hotspots – the Western Ghats, the Himalayas and the Indo-Burma region. India is home to 11 percent of species of fishes, 8.86 percent species of mammals and 12 percent species of birds of the world. We are blessed with the richness of diversity and recent growth in the number of tigers and lions prove that we can co-exist with other creatures as well. But, this is just a small step and much more needs be done to protect different species in our environment.
In India, we use the phrase “Anekta mein ekta” for signifying the importance of unity among people belonging to different religions and areas. Now is the time to use the same phrase in context of biological diversity and implement in our sustainable development projects.
Media Team, Fiinovation