The Bold Voice of J&K

Biodiversity & human well-being

54

Dr Banarsi Lal

We all are observing the environmental issues across the globe. We should contemplate on growing environmental issues and protect the nature. Nature significantly impacts our lives. Nature has many benefits from the food we eat, to the air we breathe, the water we drink etc. Despite so many benefits, the nature is being mistreated. Biodiversity plays a significant role in survival of the life on the mother Earth. Biodiversity provides us food, water and various other resources as well as services such as recycling of nutrients, climate control, pollination and flood mitigation. There is need to spread the awareness and message among the people to save the environment and planet Earth. We have 7 continents on planet Earth. Every human being has only one dream which is to live better, to eat better and to consume better. But majority of them never care for the environment and planet Earth. Presently human population is more than 7 billion on the Earth but we have only one planet to live and survive. We have limited food, limited place and limited shelters. If we keep on using natural resources as we are doing every day, a day will come when our own grand children shall be forced to live homeless with full of hunger. So it’s better to consume the natural resources judiciously and responsibility. We should stop the wastage of natural resources and use them according to our need not on our greed. Each of us knows the importance of nature. It consists of all the living beings on the earth, which are mutually interdependent on each other. But due to the excessive pollution caused by human beings, many species are becoming extinct and the global climate is also changing rapidly. The global warming is inversely affecting our health and also going to give a long term effect on our future generations. We know that millions of people on the Earth depend on forest for their livelihood. Every living being is dependent on plants and trees. Only the plants and trees can make our food. But, we people are degrading the forests rapidly. Every year, pollinators like bees help three-fourth of the world’s flowering plants and reproduce about 35 per cent of the world’s food. Flash floods, cyclones, land sliding etc. are creating havoc and wash away many trees and infrastructure. Recent flash floods, bushfires, global COVID-19 pandemic, locusts attack in India and Africa etc. indicate that human health is closely dependent with the environmental health. The current environmental crisis indicates that we must rethink for our relationship with the natural ecosystem. There is dire need to think on biodiversity. Ultimately human health depends on the ecosystem products and services. Loss of biodiversity directly impacts the human health. Changes in the ecosystem services affects our livelihoods, rural migration and cause conflicts among the human beings. Loss of biodiversity may limit the research for the potential treatments of many diseases. Human actions such as deforestations, intensified agriculture, encroachments on wildlife habitats, global warming has pushed the nature beyond its limit. If we continue our activities in the same speed then we can face the severe implications in future for our coming generations.
Modern technologies have made our lives comfortable but affecting the environmental health. When we destroy the nature, we destroy the system that supports us. Presently about one million species are facing extinction. There is urgent need to re-examine our relationship with nature. Although we are having numerous technological advancements but still we are completely dependent on healthy ecosystem for our food, clothes, shelter, health, water, medicines, fuel, energy etc. We have the challenges, opportunities and solutions. There is need to conserve the biodiversity for the benefits of life on the Earth. We can celebrate the environment protection programmes by using the digital media campaigns, webinars, seminars, workshops, conferences etc. Nature acts as the solution of our many solutions. Nature is closely associated with the climate change, food security and health. Biodiversity is badly affected due to our short-sighted activities including infrastructure development, chemical farming, deforestation, mining etc. All these activities have degraded the ecosystem. There is urgent need to work together for the resilient and sustainable global economy. The exploitation of renewable and non-renewable energy resources and rapid increase in the urbanization are severely affecting the biodiversity. Sustainable development is the only way to mitigate the needs of our present and future generations. It also ensures the health of the planet Earth. It has been observed that around 25 per cent of all animals and plants species are threatened with extinction. We should create more awareness on preserving the endangered habitats. Biodiversity is an integral part of sustainable development.It is the foundation for our food and health and plays a key catalyst to transforming food systems and improving human health. A wide range of events are organized globally to increase the understanding of the important role of biodiversity for our present and future generations. The biodiversity we observe today is the outcome of over 3.5 billion years of evolutionary history, shaped by the natural processes. Biodiversity is the foundation for the life and for the essential services provided by ecosystems. It plays the significant role in transforming our food system system and thus improves the human health. It underpins peoples’ livelihoods and sustainable development in all realms of socio-economical activity, including agriculture, forestry, fisheries, tourism etc. Biodiversity is a global asset. Biodiversity forms the web of life of which we are an integral part and upon which we are fully dependent. Biological diversity is the natural biotic capital of the earth which affects all of us.
Human beings derive the supply of food, medicines, energy and many industrial products from biological resources. The environmental crisis is an existential threat. Pandemics are related to the environmental crisis, helping to nurture and host novel germs. There is dire need to contemplate over the environmental issues-from air pollution to toxic dumps to pesticides to loss of biodiversity. There are enormous challenges but there are also vast opportunities on environmental action. Environmental protection is considered as the biggest challenge for the mankind. India is one of the richest nations in the world in terms of biological diversity. India has relatively large number of frogs, salamanders and their kith and kins. Brazil is the most biologically diverse nation in the world. India stands 10th in terms of biological diversity. Some parts of the country are very rich due to a variety of natural causes in biological diversity and some are less. The Loss of biodiversity across the globe has increased alarmingly and many wildlife and plant species are on the verge of extinction. Strenuous efforts are needed to protect the biodiversity. We all need to understand that biodiversity is the foundation for our life and ultimately it ensures our livelihoods and sustainable development. We need to protect the environment by growing the more plants, by shunning the use of plastics, using the alternate sources of energy and changing our modern lifestyles.
(The author is Head, KVK Reasi SKUAST-J).

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