Friday, May 25, 2012

International Biodiversity Day!

What is biodiversity?

Simply put, it is the amazingly wide variety of species and sub-species of birds, animals, insects, micro-organisms and plants…all around us.
Right from the tiniest of single-celled organisms to centipedes, to algae, to cockroaches, dogs, eagles, sparrows,  wilder-beasts and what not,  biodiversity helps us live, and live healthy on this planet that we call home.
So obvious?
Yet, most of the times, what escapes most of our understanding is that the existence and safety of each species is so deeply interwoven with the other, that even the smallest of imbalances can jeopardize the life of many or some species on our planet.
Yes it should be. So what affects this balance?
  • Urbanization
  • Unplanned deforestation
  • Soil erosion by mining, industrialization and other causes
  • Introduction of non-local species, that may intrude on the local ecology
  • Destruction of habitat
  • Pollution
These are some of the major causes of biodiversity being threatened.
Let’s take some time out to understand what is being done, and what we can do, to help.
Let us start with a focus on Marine Biodiversity.  Why?
Marine Biodiversity is the theme for this year’s International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB).
Designation of IDB 2012 on the theme of marine ecosystems provides Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and everyone interested in marine life, the opportunity to raise awareness of the issue and increase practical action. From 2000 to 2010, an unprecedented worldwide collaboration by scientists around the world set out to try and determine how much life is in the sea.
Dubbed the ‘Census of Marine Life’, the effort involved 2,700 scientists from over 80 nations, who participated in 540 expeditions around the world. They studied surface seawater and probed the deepest, darkest depths of the ocean, sailed tropical seas and explored ice-strewn oceans in the Arctic and Antarctic.
(Source :
Marine organisms play a crucial role in almost all biogeochemical processes that sustain the biosphere, and provide a variety of products (goods) and functions (services) which are essential to humankind’s well-being.
Besides these, marine ecosystems deliver a series of services that are essential to the proper functioning of the Earth. These include the production and mineralization of organic material, the storage of carbon, the storage of pollutants and waste products from land, the buffering of the climate and of climate change, coastal protection (mangroves, dune-beach systems, coral reefs). Most of these services are delivered by microscopic organisms.
And unmanaged fishing, pollution and destruction of our coastlines are some of the prime causes that threaten Marine Biodiversity across the world.
What can you do to help?
Raise awareness: You can join in too! Help spread the message. Get involved.
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Stop the use of bottled drinking water. Buy local. Use plastic sparingly. Eat sustainable sources of sea food. Reduce dependency on oil and gas; carpool or walk or take a bike! Buy clean and green products.

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