Photo: Akhila Vijayaraghavan ©
The year of biodiversity has ended with a lot of up and downs, just like any other year. 2010 has marked the hottest year on record, it is also a year with untold tragedies of the Haitian earthquake, the BP spill, Icelandic volcanic ash, Chinese earthquake, Pakistani floods - all of which has contributed to severe loss in economy and of life.
Over all international news seemed bleak with little causes for rejoicing. However when it comes to biodiversity, the news is a little more encouraging. It all started with the UN declared this year international year of biodiversity. Then the TEEB report finally put a monetary value on biodiversity loss, thus putting it in a political radar - this report did for biodiversity what the Stern report did for climate change.
The CBD conference that was held in Nagoya, Japan saw delegates agreeing to adopt Biodiversity Targets which will guide national strategies and enhance cooperation among developing countries.
Post the Cancun climate-conference governments have agreed on plans to save forests which will not only halt climate change but also aid in biodiversity conservation. In addition to preserving existing rainforest cover, tiger protection also received a boost. Governments of India, Russia, China and S.E Asia joined hands for the first time to make serious inroads into the protection of the tiger.
Just today I read the news that nine species previously declared extinct were re-discovered. British fauna and flora seem to be thriving in spite of the extreme cold weather. All of these little signs are symbols of hope that Life is fighting back. However it does still remain that we are rapidly reducing the Planet's regenerative capacity.
According to UN Under-Secretary General Achim Steiner, "We are destroying life on Earth. The plants and animals, fungi and micro-organisms that produce and clean our ait, generate drinking water, hydro-power and irrigation; provide food, shelter and medicines and also bring joy and a spiritual dimension to our daily lives need a helping hand - if not for their sakes, but for our own."
Psychologists are of the opinion that children growing up these days spend too much time indoors with computer games and suffer from 'Nature deficit disorder'. E.O. Wilson the famed biologist reckons that all humans have a natural affinity for nature which he calles 'biophilia' and current lifestyles are suppressing this. Therefore finding more ways for people to connect with nature may lead to more of it being conserved.
As a New Year's resolution, let each one of us make the effort to appreciate, to be awed, to enjoy and preserve the wonderful world around us.