Wild species of animals and plants are an integral part of the world’s biological diversity, as are genes and ecosystems. The ecosystems where wildlife can be found, such as forests, wetlands, plains, grasslands, coral reefs and deserts, represent another aspect of biological diversity, together with genetic diversity.
The vast array of interactions between all of these components over the course of nearly 3.5 billion years is precisely what has made our planet habitable to all species — including our own, which depends entirely on biodiversity for everything from food, energy, material for handicrafts and construction, to the very air we breathe. Unregulated or poorly managed human activities have severely impacted both local and global ecosystems, altering biodiversity and putting the very existence of many species under threat.
According to the 2019 IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, approximately 25% of species are already threatened with extinction and natural ecosystems have declined by 47% on average. This threatens to heavily impact our sources of food, fuel, medicines, housing and many more. This year’s World Wildlife Day will thus not only seek to celebrate the vibrant diversity of the biosphere, but also highlight the stakes humankind has in conserving this diversity of life and ensuring its long-term survival through a move towards a more sustainable relationship with it.
Read more about this sustainability goal here.
Promoting and supporting biodiversity and our natural resources begins with a few simple actions:
- Avoid using pesticides that end up in rivers and lakes, as they are harmful to wildlife.
- Eat seasonal produce. It tastes better, it is cheaper, and it is environmentally friendly.
- Participate in local urban farming. Grow a few vegetables yourself or join a CSA in your area.
- Make your own compost with kitchen scraps. It supports biodiversity and enriches the soil.
- Never buy products made from threatened or endangered species.
- Eat less meat. Meat production has a huge impact on greenhouse gas emissions and reduces biodiversity.
- Buy recycled products.
- Help fund projects to rehabilitate lands.
Learn more here.