Why in News?
On the occasion of World Environment Day (5th June) the author talks about saving our biodiversity which serves as a perpetual source of spiritual enrichment, intimately linked to our physical and mental well-being.
Syllabus— GS 3- Ecology & Environment
- On this World Environment Day (June 5), with the novel coronavirus pandemic raging across our vast country, we must reflect on the ways to rebuild our relationship with nature.
- India’s vast and rich biodiversity gives the nation a unique identity, of which we can be proud.
- The varied ecosystems across land, rivers, and oceans, feed our people, enhance public health security, and shield us from environmental disasters.
- Our biodiversity also serves as a perpetual source of spiritual enrichment, intimately linked to our physical and mental well-being.
Staggering value of forests
- Author suggests that estimates suggest our forests alone may yield services worth more than a trillion rupees per year.
- Globally, we have lost 7% intact forests since 2000, and recent assessments indicate that over a million species might be lost forever during the next several decades.India is also facing the same problems.
- Climate change and the ongoing pandemic will put additional stresses on our natural ecosystems.
- He suggests that repairing our dysfunctional relationship with nature is one of the ways to mitigate climate change and curtail future outbreaks of infectious diseases.
Investments in the field
- In 2018, the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) in consultation with the various ministries approved National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Well-Being (NMBHWB).
- Bengaluru-based Biodiversity Collaborative is working with the National Biodiversity Authority to hold consultations and prepare road maps of the Mission.
- It has potential to strengthen the science of restoring, conserving, and sustainably utilising India’s natural heritage; embed biodiversity as a key consideration in all developmental programmes, particularly in agriculture, ecosystem services, health, bio-economy, and climate change mitigation.
- To establish a citizen and policy-oriented biodiversity information system; and enhance capacity across all sectors for the realisation of India’s national biodiversity targets and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
- India will emerge as a leader in demonstrating linkage between conservation of natural assets and societal well-being.
An important framework
- The pandemic has exposed the dysfunctional relationship between humanity and nature, and we must urgently address the issue.
- It led to emergence of infectious diseases; lack of food and nutritional security; rural unemployment; and climate change, with all its stresses on nature, rural landscapes, and public health.
- Mission offers a holistic framework, integrated approaches, and widespread societal participation and empower India to restore, our natural assets by millions of crores of rupees.
- Mitigation programmes will lessen the impacts of climate change and other natural disasters, such as pandemics and floods.
Possible Solutions: –
- To rejuvenate agricultural production systems and increase rural incomes from biodiversity-based agriculture while also creating millions of green jobs in restoration of degraded lands (1/3 of total land) and nature tourism.
- It will help India meet its commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and UN SDGs related to pressing social issues including poverty alleviation, justice and equity, and protection of life.
- It will generate a strong national community committed to sustaining biodiversity, promoting social cohesion and uniting the public behind an important goal.
- Scientific inputs, especially related to geospatial informatics and policy, can guide the development of strategies for conservation and ecosystem management.
- “One Health” programme, integrating human health with animal, plant, soil and environmental health, has both the preventive potential to curtail future pandemics along with the interventional capability for unexpected public health challenges.
Need for a cadre
- We need a strong and extensive cadre of human resources required to meet the enormous and complex environmental challenges of the 21st century.
- It needs training professionals of the in sustainability and biodiversity science, along with an investment in civil society outreach.
- Public engagement, whether it is in the policymaking arena, or in exploration, restoration and conservation of biodiversity, is a critical component of the planned Mission.
Way Forward: –
- Finally, biodiversity is everywhere, and we interact with biodiversity all the time in our daily lives. Public engagement, whether it is in the policymaking arena, or in exploration, restoration and conservation of biodiversity, is a critical component of the planned Mission.
Today, on the heels of the International Day for Biological Diversity celebrated last month, nothing could be more important than to renew our pledge to nurture all life on earth.
Preserving biodiversity is directly relevant to the social, economic, and environmental well-being of our people. We must rethink and reimagine the concept of “One Health “.Discuss.