Biodiversity

Biodiversity provides the essential infrastructure supporting life on Earth and human development.

Biodiversity – the variety of life forms in any given habitat, from large animals to plants to fungi to the smallest of organisms – is threatened like never before. World Environment Day 2020 is issuing a call to urgent action to protect biodiversity. 

The theme of World Environment Day 2020 – mutually agreed by The UN Environment Programme and Colombia, this year’s host – invites us all to consider how we can make changes to our everyday lives to to draw attention to the need for restoring nature and reversing biodiversity loss.

Flickr/CIAT
Flickr/CIAT

We are at a verge of a mass extinction: presently, one million plant and animal species are facing extinction. We continue to lose species at an estimated 1000 times greater rate than normal, causing scientists to declare this catastrophe as the sixth mass extinction. Wildlife has declined on average by over 60 per cent in last 50 years. At this rate, species are disappearing tens to hundreds of times faster than the average speed of the past 10 million years. 

Restoring nature is possible. It is only by understanding how crucial nature is for our own existence and quality of life that we can sustainably harness its benefits. 

2020 is a year of crucial decisions for planet and people, and all other forms of life on Earth. While 2020 also concludes the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity, the scientific community continues to sound the alarm bells on global biodiversity breakdown. Living in harmony with nature—a goal world leaders have set for 2050—cannot be achieved unless we stop the loss of the planet’s biodiversity by 2030. 

This year’s World Environment Day celebrations is a key milestone on the path to raising awareness of what biodiversity is and how its health is critical to sustaining all life on Earth, and an effort to place nature at the heart of decision-making at the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming, China scheduled for October.

What you can do

This year’s World Environment Day provides an opportunity for each of us – from individuals and organizations to private companies and governments – to act to restore nature and reverse biodiversity loss. And you don’t have to wait until 5 June to act – there will be awareness creation activities on some significant days prior to World Environment Day: 

There are so many things that we can do: from making sustainable consumption and production choices to reducing invasive species, to pressuring local authorities to improve green spaces in our cities. Here are some other ideas:

  • Purchase eco-friendly products.
  • Consume more organic foods.
  • Avoid littering, as this can cause damage to species.

What else can we do to tackle this problem? Share your ideas on social media using the hashtag #worldenvironmentday.

Check this page in the coming weeks for more details of this year’s campaign and don’t forget to sign up here to receive updates in the run-up to World Environment Day 2020, including our live blog that will cover the day’s activities.

Coral images courtesy of The Ocean Agency, USFWS, Coral Reef Image Bank, XL Catlin Seaview Survey