Every year, May 22 is International Day for Biological Diversity, a United Nations (U.N.) sanctioned day to promote and observe biodiversity issues.
Biodiversity goes beyond safeguarding the lives of endangered animal species. Protecting and enhancing biodiversity includes ensuring sustainable agriculture, preventing desertification and land degradation, combating drought, safeguarding water resources, and providing sanitation services and energy, as well as employing the latest technology and innovation to allow for sustainable development.
It also means protecting our oceans, forests, and indigenous societies, as well as ensuring food security and dealing with climate change.
‘Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health’
For 2019, the May 22 theme is “Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health.” According to the U.N., biodiversity serves as the foundation for sustenance and nutritional well-being, acting as a “key catalyst” in transforming food systems and improving human health.
“In the past 100 years, more than 90% of crop varieties have disappeared from farmers’ fields,” the U.N. Environmental Program said in a statement unveiling the 2019 theme. “Half of the breeds of many domestic animals have been lost, and all of the world’s 17 main fishing grounds are now being fished at or above their sustainable limits.”
While food variety may be on the rise, the global diet — or what people actually eat — is becoming increasingly lacking in variety. To ensure proper diet across the planet and provide nutritious meals to the global population, healthy biodiversity is a fundamental requirement. After all, healthy ecosystems are needed to ensure healthy crop, meat, and fish offerings.