Tasmadva etasmadatmana akash sambhutah
Osadhibhyosnam Annat purusah
From that atman (Supreme soul) space came into being from space wind, from wind fire, from fire water, from water earth, from earth plants, from plants food, from food man came into being.Yajur Vedah, Taittiriyopanisad
Our ancestors said, Panchabhuta is the origin and lifeline for human beings to survive. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the light we get from the sun and the food that we eat are sourced from the environment. It is important that it is realised, respected and the value is understood.
Nature has been sending us a message by conveying its anger seen in the fury, be it natural disasters like cyclones, hurricanes, the bushfires in Brazil, US, Australia or the locust infestations across East Africa (it is threatening parts of north India currently). Despite the imminent danger humanity is looking somewhere else, with a goal of presumptuous prosperity. To care for ourselves we must care for nature. Is it not time to wake up, raise our voices to ensure the survival of the planet and continue to be habitable for our future generations?
Every year on June 5, the world celebrates World Environment Day, to remind people not to take nature for granted. It has its origin to the deliberations in the UN Conference on the Human Environment in 1972. Celebrated for the first time in 1974 and since then being celebrated every year going to different parts of the globe and has a theme. ‘Celebrate Biodiversity‘ is the theme for 2020 and being hosted by Colombia, in partnership with Germany.
Colombia is one of the largest “Megadiverse” nations in the world and holds 10% of the planet’s biodiversity. Since it is part of the Amazon rain forest, Colombia ranks first in bird and orchid species diversity and second in plants, butterflies, freshwater fish, and amphibians.
Biodiversity is important for the survival of all living things (on land or in water). Every living thing is connected and together forms a network of life forms. With many species facing extinction, there has never been a more important time to focus on biodiversity.
“We must now fundamentally rethink our relationship with the living world, with natural ecosystems and their biodiversity. Together we must construct a new pact with the living world. This is an immense work in progress. It will require a broad consensus, both technical and ethical. UNESCO is one of the places where such a consensus can be built” Audrey Azoulay, DG, UNESCO on the occasion of World Environment Day 2020
Conserving biodiversity is critical as cities expand with over half of the world´s population now lives in cities. The UN estimates that by the middle of this century 7 out of 10 are going to live in cities and the consequential waste that gets generated affects the balance of the ecosystem.
“Our health is tied to the health of nature. We are losing species faster than at any other time in history and we have already altered three-quarters of the planet’s land surface. Integrating biodiversity into the development of cities is an urgent measure,” said Leo Heileman, UNEP Director of Latin America and the Caribbean region.
The less talked aspect of pollution is caused by chemicals and waste and there is a need for finding solutions.
Ironically the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown brought relief to nature and environment seems to have benefited and reclaimed some of it lost spaces.
“To come in terms to coexist and respect the diversity and right to live” is the call we must give to mankind. Heartbreaking incidents like the inexplicable killing of the elephant that to pregnant in Kerala is a reminder to all of us about how far we have deviated from being just and coexist with nature’s creations”
The world belongs to every creature and the sooner we realise the better placed we all would be. Every living thing is connected to another living thing, and together it forms a network of diverse life forms on the planet.
Toons by Reema Jaiswal and Taskeen Bhat
Logs from: Kartikay Shukla and M. Sai Baba