The year 2020 began with environmental crisis revealing itself in a disturbing manner. Wildfires ravaged tropical rainforests as if they were arid savannah and the Australian bushfires. Cyclones and floods washed away trees and buildings. Now, locust attacks across Africa and India and the coronavirus pandemic — all these calamities act as a reminder that human health is linked to the planet's health.
World Environment Day 2020 theme
The theme of World Environment 2020 is 'celebrating biodiversity' — a concern that is both urgent and existential. The fact is that the current environmental crisis is a warning that we must heed collectively. We must now fundamentally rethink our relationship with the living world, with natural ecosystems and their biodiversity.
“With one million species facing extinction, there has never been a more important time to focus on biodiversity.” The day will be hosted in Colombia in partnership with Germany.
About World Environment Day
World Environment Day is celebrated on June 5, annually to encourage awareness and environmental protection. According to the United Nations, "the celebration of this day provides us with an opportunity to broaden the basis for an enlightened opinion and responsible conduct by individuals, enterprises, and communities in preserving and enhancing the environment."
The day is celebrated by engaging governments, businesses, celebrities and citizens to focus their efforts on a pressing environmental issue.
What is biodiversity?
Biodiversity underpins life on Earth, and refers to the variety found in biota from genetic make up of plants an animals to cultural diversity.
Importance of biodiversity
People depend on biodiversity in their daily lives, in ways that are not always apparent or appreciated. Human health ultimately depends upon ecosystem products and services (such as availability of fresh water, food and fuel sources) which are requisite for good human health and productive livelihoods. Biodiversity loss can have significant direct human health impacts if ecosystem services are no longer adequate to meet social needs. Indirectly, changes in ecosystem services affect livelihoods, income, local migration and, on occasion, may even cause political conflict.
Additionally, biophysical diversity of microorganisms, flora and fauna provides extensive knowledge which carry important benefits for biological, health, and pharmacological sciences. Significant medical and pharmacological discoveries are made through greater understanding of the earth's biodiversity. Loss in biodiversity may limit discovery of potential treatments for many diseases and health problems.