By – Himanshu Sharma
On 22nd May, the ‘Convention on Biological Diversity’ was signed at Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. Hence to grace the occasion we regard this day as “International day for Biological Diversity” in order to generate awareness among people about the importance, benefits and conservation of biodiversity.
Being a wildlife lover, today I would like to share my thoughts and convey a message to all regarding biodiversity and pandemic prevention.
Look closely at nature. Every species is a masterpiece, exquisitely adapted to the particular environment in which it has survived. Who are we to destroy or even diminish biodiversity?
– E.O WILSON
‘Biodiversity’.. though it’s a short term but has a grave meaning inside. It refers to the diversity (variety) of life-forms that are found on the earth. Right from the Blue Whale to the tiny microbes, all are included in this mega-term.
You might be wondering what is the significance of having such a tremendous diversity of life on earth. The answer lies in the undeniable role of every single species of organisms in the ecosystem/environment. Whether it is nutrient cycling, pollination or catering to human needs all of these functions are possible only due to biodiversity. Therefore it is more important to conserve/save it.
In the Anthropocene- age of modern man… the biodiversity of earth is under threat. Man is recklessly decimating the forests to convert them into agricultural lands or for industrial purposes to meet the demand of ever growing population. This has branched out into various issues that need to be tackled. Biodiversity loss and climate change are among the prominent ones.
Anthropogenic pressure on environment has led to:-
- Habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation for wildlife
- Increase in carbon emissions that lead to global warming and hence climate change
- Pollution and acidification of water bodies around the world.
- Increase in epidemics
- Human-wildlife conflict
- High extinction rates
Man has crossed all the critical thresholds that are essential for earth’s ecosystems to revive on their own and is unprecedentedly harming the diversity of life on the earth unaware of the fact that it is important for his own survival. Destruction of fragile biodiverse forests, illegal poaching, overgrazing, overfishing are few reasons behind thousands of species marching into oblivion that leads to their extinction.
We are amongst an ‘Existential crisis’.
The Nature’s It’s organisms are seriously suffering only because of human beings. But , Nature has very well retaliated this time by introducing it’s most deadly weapon to show man it’s might.
The SARS CoV-2 which has caused the pandemic that has spread like wildfire in the human population has had an equal impact on humans as humans have had on the environment. Millions of people are left lamenting over the departed souls of their loved ones, medical infrastructures have collapsed and everything has come to a standstill.
It seems nature is giving us a message in it’s own way…
• Enough is enough, you have degraded the environment and species are now vanishing.
• See the reflection, similarity between how you suffer and how the environment suffers because of you.
• It’s time to learn a lesson and take steps to conserve the diversity of life on earth.
Though humans are the only cause.. it is also the only solution to the crisis as well. There are some fundamental solutions to address the issues which are as follows-
- Reduction in the global carbon emissions which would aid in reducing the warming of earth.
- Shifting to eco-friendly ways of doing every task.
- Restoring wildlife habitats and conservation of the species facing threat.
- Paying way to sustainable development
- Compensatory afforestation for the amount of timber extracted.
About Pandemic prevention,
Pandemics are the zoonotic diseases that spread from wild animals to humans when they come in contact with each other. Those microbes, especially viruses, have the ability to spillover human population and cause epidemics.
Thus we need to,
• Conserve biodiversity which is our ally in battling epidemic.
• Bring illegal wildlife trade to a blanket ban.
• Stop intruding the ecosystems which harbour a range of disease causing microbes.
• Protecting habitat of wildlife so that humans and animals do not face conflict due to each other.
• Preparation of task forces to monitor any such disease outbreak in future
• Keeping medical infrastructure and stock ready to battle such incidences.
It’s our responsibility to protect this nature.. it’s environment and the organisms that live with us so that we can co-exist harmoniously.
By – Himanshu Sharma
-Bsc. Zoology, Batch-2018-21