Biodiversity – A New Challenge for the Youth?

Biodiversity, short for biological diversity, is the term used to describe the variety of life found on Earth and in all other natural processes. This includes ecosystem, genetic and cultural diversity, and the connections between these and all species. In short, it is the diversified relation of Homo sapiens with the living beings, organisms, trees and plants that constitute the environs.

Biodiversity – the variety of habitats on Earth – is crucial to human interests and well being. The loss or dilapidation of biodiversity can have important economic, environmental, and social consequences. Altering a watershed (the area draining into a common waterway), for example, not only leads to the potential loss of an ecosystem –through loss of habitat – but may also create economic costs for water filtration in cities using its water and using the wetlands for erection of apartments also has a drastic result. Biodiversity loss also has social consequences in its impact on people’s livelihoods and lifestyles – this is the unmeasured cost of losing cultural traditions. The increased inflow of people from the villages to cities, the tribes leaving their habitats and coming to the cities for livelihood, can all lead to serious setbacks.

The loss of the key elements of an ecosystem can alter the balance between its components and lead to long-term or permanent changes. Biodiversity loss can also affect human health, as our health is largely dependent on the quality of the ecosystem in which we live – loss of plant or animal species can affect the quality of water or soil.

The main pressures on biodiversity result from land use changes (usually associated with increasing populations); unsustainable use and exploitation of natural resources (especially fisheries, agriculture, and forestry); global climate change; and industrial pollution. At the same time, biotechnology is introducing new organisms and their effect on existing organisms and habitats also needs to be considered. Climate change is a major threat to biodiversity. Since the industrial revolution, the mean surface temperature of Earth has increased an average of 1° Celsius per century due to the addition of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Furthermore, most of this change has occurred in the past 30 to 40 years, and the rate of increase is accelerating, with significant impacts both at a global scale and at local and regional levels. It remains important to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reverse climate change. Many of the impacts of climate change are already in evidence. As a result, governments, communities, and society are increasingly concerned with anticipating the future effects of climate change while searching for strategies to mitigate, and adapt to, it’s current effects. Biodiversity summits serve as an instrument of change if the recommendations are implemented; however they are either not implemented or too slowly executed. Biodiversity plans are made by the learned– whether in Nagoya or India – but implementation, financial resources, incentive measures, co operation, outreach, actual ecosystem restoration etc., take time and so the targets are often not just international or governmental aims anymore but attempts at local grassroots to bring about change is urgently needed as is youth activism.

What have they done to the earth?
What have they done to our fair sister?
Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her
Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn
And tied her with fences and dragged her down – Jim Morrison/When the Music’s Over

Arise, awake, youth of India, to make the world a green safe haven for the future.

Image source : TheHindu

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