May 22: International Day of Biodiversity
PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas (The Freeman) - May 23, 2020 - 12:00am

Now, regardless of age, gender, class, ethnicity, nationality, the present pandemic has made survival and protection urgent goals, not just for the poor, but for all.

The pandemic has also shown the limitations of human beings and institutions to assure our survival and protection. Despite best efforts to provide essentials, especially to the needy, thousands or more aren’t reached, or served appropriately.

Should the pandemic continue, healthy, sustainable supply of food, water, and effective services for all will be important challenges.

Yesterday, May 22, the celebration of the International Day of Biodiversity (IBD) reminded us all that nature is a vital source of solutions to global challenges.

Nature’s biological diversity resources have been, are, and will continue to be indispensable, invaluable sources of life for individuals, societies, civilizations.

We stay alive if we protect biodiversity.

Biological diversity or biodiversity includes “the wide variety of plants, animals and microorganisms and the variety of ecosystems (lakes, forest, deserts, agricultural landscapes) that host multiple kinds of interactions among their members (humans, plants, animals).

“Our solutions are in nature.”

This overall theme for IBD has never been so apt and on target. The United Nations further reminds us:

“As the global community re-examines, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, its relationship with the natural world, one thing is certain: despite our technological advances, humans are completely dependent on healthy and vibrant ecosystems for our health, water, food, medicines, clothes, fuel, shelter and energy, to name a few.

This year’s IBD theme, “Our solutions are in nature”, emphasizes the importance of working together at all levels to build a future of life in harmony with nature.

2020 is a year of reflection, opportunity and solutions. All of us have the opportunity to reflect on how we can “Build back better” to increase the resilience of nations and communities as we recover from this pandemic.

2020 is also the year when the world can signal a strong will for adapting as well as adopting, in 2021, a robust and ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework that will “bend the curve” on biodiversity loss for the benefit of all life on Earth.

“Biodiversity loss is a direct result of our short-sighted human activities including uncontrolled mining and infrastructure development, unsustainable farming and deforestation, said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, CBD Acting Executive Secretary. “All these have degraded ecosystems and have created the conditions that lead to events like possibly the pandemic.”

“While the world is striving to end this pandemic, we all need to take urgent concerted and collaborative actions to build a resilient and sustainable global economy that incorporates nature at its heart, even as we build back from the crisis.”

As early as today, constructing the new normal and building back better should recognize, respect, and protect “the crucial role of nature in addressing climate change, food security, health and life.”

How can we all contribute, as individuals, households, communities, nations, and as a global community, to “bend the curve” on biodiversity loss so we can save life- of our planet, of people, including ours?

First priority is to have secure, sustainable healthy food and water. Let food gardens and rain harvesters abound in every home and community soonest!

Support farming, fishing, forest communities as sustainable food sources and centers with food production, processing and alternative ways of preserving resources immediately encouraged and assisted.

Implement effective linkages among producers, distributors, and consumers through barter and alternative exchange/sharing mechanisms and systems.

Be reminded that responsible personal, household, community water and waste management protect biodiversity.

Always remember; stay safe, help produce food, protect nature and protect lives!

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