Today is International Day of Biological Diversity, under the theme, " From agreement to action: build back biodiversity." In December 2022, The theme calls for global action to move beyond commitments and translate them into tangible actions to restore and protect biodiversity. It particularly promotes action in support of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, includes four goals and 23 targets to be achieved by 2030 to safeguard biodiversity
But why is this important for you and me?
Biodiversity is an abbreviation of the phrase ‘biological diversity." Simply put, biodiversity is the incredible variation and interaction of life on Earth. Without biodiversity, there is no life. It’s the food we eat, the water we drink. It’s our forests, our fish.
“Biological diversity is the resource upon which families, communities, nations and future generations depend. It is the link between all organisms on earth, binding each into an interdependent ecosystem, in which all species have their role. It is the web of life,” says the World Wide Fund for Nature.
It is clear that if you pull at one strand of this web, the whole falls apart. Here are a few examples of how dependent we are on biodiversity.
Biodiversity provides the food we eat
Nourishing the planet: Agricultural biodiversity, which is made up of ecosystems, animals, plants and microorganisms related to food and agriculture, provides the food and raw materials to produce what we eat. It nourishes us and promotes healthy diets and nutrition. The loss of agricultural biodiversity is of great concern. For example, without bees to pollinate crops there would be no fruits and nuts. And there are still thousands of wild or rarely cultivated species that could provide us with food that could be lost. Initiatives like our Heritage Garden help propagate plants that are in danger of disappearing.
Similarly, the oceans contribute to the food supply, economy, and health of many nations. Billions of people rely on fish as an important source of protein, while fisheries directly employ millions of people. Seafood products are among the most widely traded commodities. By protecting spawning grounds, and other important fish habitats, marine protected areas such as Cousin provide essential sanctuaries where young fish can grow to maturity and reproduce before they are caught.
It fuels ecotourism, bringing financial benefits to conservation activities and local businesses
Tourism: Biodiversity keeps tourism going. Tourists are attracted by natural landscapes, which harbour a variety of wild flora and fauna. In Seychelles our tourists like the pristine environment, clean waters, beaches and wildlife. This requires us to keep the attractions intact while ensuring that we do not damage nature. On Cousin Island, ecotourism brings financial benefits to conservation activities and local businesses.
Climate Change: Biodiversity helps reduce the effects of climate change. The conservation of habitats can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. The ocean is one of the largest natural reservoirs of carbon. Mangroves, coral reefs, and other coastal habitats provide significant protection against damage from hurricanes, cyclones, storm surges, and tsunamis. Nature Seychelles has been working on projects that help us to adapt to climate change such as the reef rescuers project, which is restoring coral reefs affected by climate change.
Plants such as the madagascar periwinkle have medicinal value
Human Health: You rely on biodiversity to stay healthy. Many plants and other organisms are useful in medical research or contain substances used as medicines. If species such as these disappear, they will take their secrets with them. Additionally, when habitats are lost, people get into closer contact with wildlife that may transmit diseases.
What should you do at an individual level? We need to use biodiversity in a sustainable manner. It’s a way to ensure that we meet both present and future need. We can take such actions such as not destroying habitats, harming wildlife, not wasting, and re-using and recycling whatever we have.