These days we are celebrating two very important dates that are inevitably united in the environmental conservation of our planet and they are May 22, World Biodiversity Day and June 5, World Environment Day.
The word "biodiversity" is made up of the Greek word "bios" (life) and the Latin word "diversitas" (diversity or difference). In general, therefore, biodiversity means: diversity of life, therefore Biodiversity is the variety of living beings that inhabit the Earth.
The purpose of World Environment Day is to focus global attention on the importance of the environment and to stimulate policy action accordingly. The event tries to give a human face to environmental problems; encourage people to become active agents of sustainable development; promote the idea that communities are the pillars for changing attitudes towards environmental issues and foster partnerships that ensure that all peoples and nations enjoy a more prosperous and secure future.
What is the environment?
Interacting set of natural and socio-cultural systems historically modified by human action and that governs and conditions all the possibilities of life on Earth, especially human life, as it is its habitat and source of resources. It is everything that naturally surrounds us and that allows the development of life and refers both to the atmosphere and its upper layers, such as the land and its waters, to the flora and fauna; to natural resources, all of which make up nature with its ecological system of balance between organisms and the environment in which it lives.
Natural habitats in most of the world continue to deteriorate, both in extent and integrity. There is extensive fragmentation and degradation of forests, rivers, and other ecosystems. And in agricultural systems, the genetic diversity of different types of crops and livestock continues to decline.
This is because the top five causes of biodiversity destruction: habitat change, overexploitation, pollution, invasive alien species, and climate change remain constant or are even intensifying. For this reason, humanity's ecological footprint exceeds the Earth's biological capacity by a much higher margin than what was agreed upon when setting the Biodiversity goal.
Human activity constitutes the greatest danger factor for nature, and manifests itself in different ways, such as the demand for food, water, energy and raw materials. The United Nations Environment Program reported that after a century the world's flora and fauna could be 50% extinct, affecting biodiversity.
Biodiversity, recognized as the most important human heritage, is the set of all species that exist on the planet. Its loss is equivalent to the loss of our quality of life as a species, and in extreme cases, to our own extinction. In other times, man was insignificant compared to nature; Today, no: the destruction of the ozone layer and pollution are sad examples of our power.
Conserving biodiversity is not only about protecting wildlife, but also about preserving natural systems that guarantee life: purifying water; recycle oxygen and other essential elements; maintain soil fertility; provide food and medicine, and safeguard the genetic richness of all species.
There are more than 1500 animals on the verge of extinction and another high percent of plants, some 17000 are threatened to a lesser degree. About 12 percent of bird species, 23 percent of mammals, 25 percent of confieras, and 32 percent of amphibians are currently in danger of extinction, and aquatic organisms today may face a challenge. Similar danger of extinction, dozens and dozens of species are becoming extinct daily, it is true that the extinction of species is part of the natural course of the Earth, but nevertheless in the last 100 years man has accelerated that rate by at least 100 times with respect to the natural rhythm of that process.
There are many examples of environmental destruction today and man is the main protagonist: The Amazon is considered the richest biological reserve on the planet with several million insects, plants, birds, and other forms of life, many of which do not have been cataloged even by science is being affected by deforestation and this affects the fall of the rains causing climatic changes and therefore less evaporated water reaches the atmosphere which generates less precipitation and emits more greenhouse gases which increases the global warming in addition to being the trees the processors of carbon dioxide to convert it into oxygen. According to official data, 20 percent of the annual global emissions of polluting gases comes from deforestation.
It would be impossible to deny our responsibility in the current and accelerated loss of biodiversity, this situation has a strong impact on human health, vulnerability to natural disasters, access to drinking water or raw materials, the situation is complex and they are needed concrete and urgent actions. In general, we live in a close relationship with nature since we are part of it, it not only unites us to it when we hear the songs of the birds, nor when we enjoy the shade provided by the trees, our relationship goes further, since we are By turning rivers and seas into dumps for garbage or chemicals, we are mismanaging land and water resources.
Nor should we forget the consequences that wars originate in their entirety: atmospheric contamination, contamination of sanitary waters, destruction of flora and fauna, disappearance of soils, contamination of surface and underground waters, waste of all kinds, and on all human losses.
“If you want to save humanity from that self-destruction, you have to better distribute the wealth and technologies available on the planet. Less luxury and less waste in a few countries so that there is less poverty and less hunger in much of the Earth. No more transfers to the Third World of lifestyles and consumer habits that ruin the environment. Make human life more rational. Apply a fair international economic order. Use all the necessary science for sustained development without pollution. Pay yourself the ecological debt and not the foreign debt. Hunger disappears and not man. "
Fidel Castro Ruz at the United Nations Conference on the Environment
in Rio de Janeiro on June 12, 1992
Hopefully it is not too late to save our Blue Planet, which so much needs our care because only we human beings will be responsible for what may happen in the future.
By Ricardo Bruno Ojeda Lastre