The 22nd of May is the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDBD). The theme this year is ‘From Agreement to Action: Build Back Biodiversity’ with a focus on rapid implementation of the framework agreed at COP15.
What is Biological Diversity?
Biodiversity is the number and variety of organisms living within a particular area. The more diverse the area, the healthier and more resistant to change it is. However, in recent years, our primary conversation about biodiversity has been its dramatic loss worldwide. WWF’s 2022 Living Planet Report concluded that there has been an average 69% decline in global populations of mammals, fish, birds, reptiles and amphibians since 1970. This is mainly due to human activities like climate change, overfishing, pollution and deforestation.
Why is Biological Diversity Important?
The diversity of our planet impacts all aspects of our lives, from food and medicine to health and mental well-being. For example, more than 80% of the human diet comes from plants, but large areas of our planet are now devoted to growing monocultures (single crops) that are vulnerable to outbreaks of pests and diseases.
These huge areas make poor habitats for local wildlife. A prime example is the huge palm oil plantations in Southeast Asia (Borneo, Malaysia, Sumatra) that were once lush rainforests home to orangutans, elephants, tigers and rhinoceros. They are all now endangered.
What is the International Day for Biological Diversity?
In 2000, the UN General Assembly decided that the 22nd of May was to be the International Day of Biodiversity. Biodiversity is essential to our planet, and the IDBD aims to encourage a focus on both studying biodiversity and protecting it. It holds governments to their proposed targets and raises awareness in communities about biological diversity issues. IDBD is not just a celebration of our biodiversity but a call to arms for everyone to help protect it. Each year has a particular theme – previous themes include Biodiversity and Poverty Alleviation (2003), Forest Biodiversity (2011) and Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism (2017).
How Can You Get Involved?
You can celebrate IDBD however you like! Some people organise celebrations with friends and family, while others visit local conservation spots or attend organised events.
Why not check online to see what events are being held in your area? Or organise your own. Some ideas include photography competitions, litter picking, tree planting or talks by local wildlife experts. The more that we know about the biodiversity of our natural world, the better equipped we will be to protect it.
Blog by OneKind Planet volunteer, Ami Patrick.