2010 is the UN’s Year of Biodiversity, dedicated to raising awareness and setting goals around the stunning acceleration in species lost due to human activity. A conference on the world’s biodiversity earlier this month ended with an admission that earlier goals of halting the speed of biodiversity loss by 2010 have not been met, amid ominous warnings about the consequences for our own species of losing so many others. Losses of plant and animals species “have increasingly dangerous consequences for human well-being, even survival for some societies,” the conference leaders stated. We are losing sources of food, medicine, materials and spiritual comfort, not to mention economic well-being: “Many more economic sectors than we realize depend on biodiversity,” the report continued.
This video introduces the UN Year of Biodiversity, and describes how our species is dependent on the 2 million species that we know of, and perhaps also on the up to 90 million species that are not yet cataloged.
“Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.” The line in the Joni Mitchell song is very apt: we’re losing 130 species each and every day. In developing countries, the picture is particularly dire. It’s estimated that over half of Indonesia’s wildlife species are unrecorded, due to lack of knowledge and awareness.
One significant effort of the Year of Biodiversity focuses on involving youth in an appreciation of natural systems. The Green Wave tree planting project culminates on May 22, the designated International Day for Biodiversity, when thousands of young people around the globe will plant and water a locally significant tree. With the motto, “One School, One Tree, One Gift to Nature,” the Green Wave website has a wealth of information and resources for students and educators.
Nature operates as a system; among other things, it is our life support system. Let’s strive to make 2010 a year of progress in preserving the richness of life on earth.
Photo of Critically Endangered Panamian Golden Frog by Brian Gratwicke, CC license via Flickr