News: Recently, The International Day of Biodiversity on May 22, 2022 was celebrated. It was done amid the pandemic, and the recent heat waves in much of northern India and floods in Meghalaya. The uncertainty is being further fuelled by the continuing degradation of lands and biodiversity, growing malnutrition and hunger, and inequities and environmental injustice.
We, the human species, are an integral and influential component of biodiversity. Our own bodies host living microbiomes of tiny organisms without which we cannot survive.
Our cultures shape the biodiversity around us, and biodiversity shapes our cultures and our future here on Earth.
India’s ethnic, cultural, and linguistic diversity has been greatly influenced by the unique features of our land, climate and geography as well as forces of migration and evolution. These forces have enriched our land with a multitude of species of plants, animals, and other organisms.
Importance of international day celebration
The day provided us an opportunity to appreciate the wonder of biodiversity, renew our commitment to nurture and protect all the many forms of life with which we share our planet.
What are the problems?
India’s biodiversity is under assault. For example, our natural landscapes and waterscapes have seen decline and degradation.
Nature-based solutions: Biodiversity provides us with potential solutions to our most pressing sustainability challenges. The use of biodiversity and natural world processes are the best path for sustainability. These can be done as below:
Climate change: The restoration of biodiversity over the vast tracts of deforested and other degraded lands can mitigate climate change. This direct connection between biodiversity and climate change has been acknowledged in the Glasgow Summit of the UNFCCC. Further, Restoration also has the potential of creating millions of jobs, diversifying farming systems and agriculture-based livelihoods. It can also help India to meet its intended commitment to tackle climate change.
Enterprises working in the biotechnology and healthcare sector can harness the untapped potential of our rich medical heritage that includes thousands of medicinal plant species.
Nature can lead to our economic, and physical well-being; and minds and spiritual enrichment.
It will help India in the realisation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The government has launched a National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Well-Being. The key features of the missions are:
The mission will promote biodiversity in development programmes, particularly in the sectors of agriculture, health, bioeconomy, ecosystem services, and climate change mitigation.
The mission seeks to ensure public engagement which is key for biodiversity conservation.
The Mission seeks to develop a system for assessing and monitoring, restoring, and enhancing biodiversity.
The Mission can help address various issues: the emergence of infectious diseases; inadequate food and nutritional security; rural unemployment; and climate change.
Source: The post is based on an article “Nature has the answers” published in the “The Hindu” on 23rd May 2022.