Life-giving Biodiversity

by Rolando A. Inciong

            Biodiversity is the variety of life on earth – from the smallest organisms to the largest mammals; the different species of plants, trees, fishes; and the places where they live which we call ecosystems.

            The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that fish provide 20 percent of animal protein to about three billion people. “Over 80 percent of the human diet is provided by plants. As many as 80 percent of people living in rural areas in developing countries rely on traditional plant‐based medicines for basic healthcare.”

            Aside from food, we continue to depend on nature, especially for our basic needs such as water, medicines, clothes, fuel, shelter, energy, construction materials, and defense against climate change and pollution.

            Unfortunately, Earth is losing its biodiversity at an unprecedented rate. The Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity said that the loss of biodiversity threatens all, including our health. Three-quarters of the land-based environment and about 66 percent of the marine environment have been significantly altered by irresponsible human activities. One million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction.

            It has been proven that biodiversity loss could expand zoonoses — diseases transmitted from animals to humans. If we keep biodiversity intact, it offers excellent tools to fight against pandemics like those caused by coronaviruses.

            Given the importance of public education and awareness about the dangers of biodiversity loss, the UN is encouraging governments to promote understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.

            We need to learn about the importance of healthy species and their ecosystems and how we can protect and conserve them. While irresponsible human activities contribute to the problem of biodiversity loss, We, humans, are also the solution. Let us all be responsible and take care of our mother nature and its life-giving biodiversity.