Biodiversity is us and we are biodiversity

Source– The post is based on the article “Biodiversity is us and we are biodiversity” Published in the “The Hindu” on 1st June 2023.

Syllabus: GS3 – Environment

Relevance- Issues related to biodiversity

News– The International Biodiversity Day was observed on May 22.

What is the importance of biodiversity?

Biodiversity is everywhere. It is inside our bodies, in villages, towns, and cities, and in well-organised ecological communities and ecosystems.

Biodiversity conservation can help to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Biodiversity helps in mitigation of climate change.

It also fulfils our basic needs for food, shelter, medicines, mental health, recreation, and spiritual enrichment.

There will be a need to rely more on solutions that draw upon biodiversity or nature to face the continuing decline in the quality of our environment. These are called nature-based solutions.

Biodiversity will restore our degraded lands and polluted rivers and oceans. It will sustain our agriculture in the face of climate change. Biodiversity forms the basis of a new sustainable green economy.

What is the way forward to preserve biodiversity?

Civil society must play a critical role in sustaining our biodiversity.

There is a need to change the way we manage our biodiversity. Currently, the main custodian of the natural world is the Indian Forest Service. But the term “Forest” to describe natural heritage is flawed.

India’s biodiversity is not only on land but also in water bodies, rivers, deltas, and oceans. Our ecosystems exist in the form of grasslands, savannas, alpine pastures, deserts, and other types of ecological communities.

In the 21st century, the basic terms “forests” and “wildlife” have limited meaning or usefulness.

There is a need for multifunctional landscapes, where aspirations, beliefs, traditional knowledge, and direct participation of local communities are central to the conserving and sustaining life on earth.

In 2006, India enacted the Forest Rights Act. It called for an increase in the stake of indigenous groups in ownership as well as management of biodiversity. However, the Act largely remains on paper.

It is time to move beyond the Acts to fundamentally alter the management of biodiversity.

Biodiversity must be mainstreamed into our daily actions, in every development programme, in every government department, in every public and private institution.

It is time to decentralise the management of biodiversity by bringing together multiple stakeholders, especially local communities, through gram sabhas and biodiversity management committees.

What are some facts about the proposed National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Wellbeing?

The mainstreaming of biodiversity is the goal of the proposed Mission. India’s Biodiversity Collaborative based in Bengaluru, conceptualised the idea.

The Mission will enable our country to meet critical challenges in climate change, natural and regenerative agriculture, and ecosystem and public health using biodiversity and ecosystem services.

The ultimate goal is to enhance and conserve biodiversity to foster human well-being, and to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. It will support an era of a new green economy.

People will be at the centre of the Mission. The goal of the Mission is to engage all citizens in the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. The Mission will integrate biodiversity in every development-oriented programme of the public and private sectors

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