Saturday, May 22, 2010

Happy Biodiversity Day!

It's International Biodiversity day today! It's also the year of Biodiveristy. Of course everday is a biodiversity day. So what is it? The UNU university mentions that Biodiversity, "the earth's diversity of habitat and species — is vital for sustainable development, societies, and culture. Yet, like the climate, it is being lost more rapidly than ever before and this loss is most affecting the poor. Unlike climate change, the urgency, scale and impacts of biodiversity loss are poorly understood and the political will to tackle this issue is weak."You can't buy nature as a whole, just what it produces. Nature is not easily replacable.

Biodiversity is important to New Zealand too. As DOC mention: "New Zealand has a vast wealth of unique animals, plants and ecosystems, but we also have one of the highest percentages of threatened species in the world. We have much to lose so we need to do more to protect them."

Biodiversity is important for our food supply as well. It was one of the reasons for the Irish potato famine and it protected rice growers from the grassy stunt virus. 80% ofo ur food comes from 20 plant kinds, however we have 40,000 plants and animals we use as food. Diverse food gives diverse nutrition, which is important for our bodies to stay healthy. For instance Vitamin C that comes from kiwifruit, oranges or even other animals.

A report that's come out of the UN tells us that natures animals, trees and oceans are under threat. It's the third edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook, which is produced by the Convention on Biological Diversity. The secretary general BAN Ki-Moon has a good summary(p. 3): "[T]he principal pressures leading to biodiversity loss are not just constant but are, in some cases, intensifying... In several important areas, national and international action to support biodiversity is moving in a positive direction. More land and sea areas are being protected, more countries are fighting the serious threat of invasive alien species, and more money is being set aside for implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity. However, these efforts are too often undermined by conflicting policies. To tackle the root causes of biodiversity loss, we must give it higher priority in all areas of decision-making and in all economic sectors."

In the report has been a discussion of tipping points. A point where it's difficult or impossible to recover these ecosystems. They are:

A - The dieback of large areas of the Amazon forest, due to the interactions of climate change, deforestation and fires, with consequences for the global climate, regional rainfall and widespread species extinctions.

B - The shift of many freshwater lakes and other inland water bodies to eutrophic or algae-dominated states, caused by the buildup of nutrients and leading to widespread fish kills and loss of recreational amenities.

C - Multiple collapses of coral reef ecosystems, due to a combination of ocean acidification, warmer water leading to bleaching, overfishing and nutrient pollution; and threatening the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of species directly dependent on coral reef resources.

Biodiversity is something you can get involved in .

“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed” - Charles Darwin, father of evolution.

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