Our Solutions are in Nature
A microorganism is threatening the whole world, it is estimated that if all the COVID virus that is pervading the world is put together may not weigh more than a gram. If the introduction of such small quantity can create such havoc, how much destruction it can lead if we remove large quantities of flora and fauna from mother earth?
Variety and variability are inherent in life on Earth. Biodiversity is a measure of variation at the genetic, species and ecosystem across the globe. Mother earth has shown its preferences in making the resources available, neither the resources nor their use is equally distributed. The warm climate at equator leads to greater terrestrial biodiversity, also richer in the tropics. Less than 10% of the earth’s surface contains about 90% of the world’s species. Our understanding of the diversity is very meagre, it is estimated that about 1.7 million species being identified account for only 20%.
Wikipedia traces back the use of the term “biological diversity” to J. Arthur Harris in 1916. The term Biodiversity was used by Walter G. Rosen in a presentation in a conference “The National Forum on Biodiversity,” in 1986. Biological diversity represents the wealth of resources.
in 2000 UN General Assembly proclaimed May 22 to be the International Day for Biodiversity and has the aim of saving the lives of living organisms and biodiversity. Every year it is celebrated with a specific theme, and for the year 2020 it is “Our Solutions are in Nature”. The decade 2011–2020 has been designated as the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity.
Mother earth possesses and encompasses microorganisms, plants, animals, and ecosystems such as coral reefs, forests, rain forests, deserts, etc. The challenge is all about ensuring the sustenance of the equilibrium. In biodiversity, each species, no matter how big or small has an important role to play in the ecosystem. Various plant and animal species depend on each other for what each offers and ensures natural sustainability. The necessities of human beings are in totality being met from grains, plants and animals.
Biodiversity plays a major role in reducing the soil erosion, control the climate and purifying the air that we breathe and water. Many trees and plants have the potential to protect us from the deadliest diseases, “Rosy Periwinkle” from Madagascar cultivated for herbal medicine and used in Ayurveda for curing diabetes and Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Cinchona tree which was used to make medicine for Malaria (almost disappeared from Kerala). The importance of biodiversity in our life is conveyed very succulently by E.O Wilson in “These little things that run the world”.
It is said that human beings are the most intelligent creature on this earth and possess the discerning power. Ironically the reason for earth’s biodiversity being in grave danger are the human beings. The “evil quartet” identified by Jared Diamond is overkill, habitat destruction, secondary extinctions, and introduced species. Factors identified by Edward Wilson are described by the acronym- HIPPO, Habitat destruction, Invasive species, Pollution, human overPopulation, Over-harvesting and climate change.
There is a glimmer of hope, the forest cover has seen an increase in India. It is estimated that this has led to neutralising greenhouse gases to the extent of 11%.
“If we must sustain the path of development, we must learn to live in harmony with nature”
If not, do we have the right to call ourselves the most intelligent creature on the earth?
The Clock is ticking…
Toons by Reema Jaiswal and Taskeen Bhat
Logs by: Kartikay Shukla and Sai Baba