Biodiversity is an umbrella term, originated in conservation science of the 1980s, that refers to “the totality of all inherited variation in the life forms of Earth” (E.O. Wilson), from genes and microbial life, to species, biomes, and ecosystems. To bring up biodiversity is to stress how all forms of life are interconnected in complex ways. It is to advocate deep respect for the working of Earth’s living systems, most of which we do not yet fully understand. And it is to assume that human intervention in one area will always have multiple consequences to other nodes of the web of life, so think before you act.
The notion of biodiversity was introduced into mainstream conservation discourse in the 1992 UN Convention on Biological Diversity. Since then, the CBD has sponsored periodic reports on biological diversity, which summarize the status of Earth’s biodiversity and actions taken to safeguard it. The most recent Global Biodiversity Outlook report (GBO5, released in 2020) found that the world has failed to reach even one of the major biodiversity conservation targets it had set for itself in 2010.
Some of the recent proposals to save the world’s biodiversity include E.O. Wilson’s Half Earth—a call to set aside half of the land and half of the ocean surface to preserve sufficient habitat to ensure the long-term health of the planet—and The Wyss campaign for Nature which seeks to mobilize the world to protect 30% of the marine and terrestrial surface by 2030.
©2021 ClimateLit (Marek Oziewicz)
“Kiri scanned the forest, spotting the panther less than a stone’s throw from where she crouched. Moonlight glinted off the panther’s fiery green eyes as the creature studied her. Follow, whispered a voice that sounded less like her mother, and more like the hiss of a cat.”