World Environment Day
World Environment Day takes place every year on 5 June. It is the United Nations Environment Program’s flagship day for promoting worldwide awareness and action for the environment. Over the years, it has grown to be the largest global platform for environmental public outreach and is celebrated by millions of people in more than 100 countries.
The 2020 Theme for World Environment Day is Biodiversity. Biodiversity refers to the variety of all life on Earth, including the ways in which all living systems interact with each other.
It is a key measure of the health of any ecosystem and of our entire planet. Every organism in an ecosystem, or biome, relies on other organisms and the physical environment. For example, plant and animal species need each other for food, and depend on the environment for water and shelter. The loss of any one species in a particular ecosystem can have devastating effects on the local environment. Additionally, the introduction of alien species in some ecosystems can also completely disrupt ecological cycles, as has been demonstrated by the introduction of cane toads in Australia as well as the accidental introduction of mice on Marion Island. Saving a remote island’s birds—by getting rid of its mice A more diverse ecosystem will have more resources to help it recover from famine, drought, disease or even the extinction of a species. There are several levels of biodiversity, each indicating how diverse the genes, species and resources are in a region.
Even though it does not always seem that way, we as a species are also highly dependent on our planet’s biodiversity. Recent events, from bushfires in Brazil, the United States, and Australia to locust infestations across East Africa – and now, a global disease pandemic – demonstrate the interdependence of humans and the webs of life in which they exist. We rely on natural resources for food, building materials, recreation etc. Without these resources we would not be able to function in our civilisation, but it is imperative that we use our natural resourced wisely.
Sustainable solutions to our socio-economic requirements offer the best way to achieve human well-being, tackle climate change and protect our living planet. Yet nature is in crisis as we are losing species at a rate 1,000 times greater than at any other time in recorded human history and one million species face extinction in the near future.
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