22 May International Day of Biological Diversity

Lauren Moriarty
21 May 2021

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"It is together that we will be able to save our biodiversity. This is a principle of effectiveness. But it is also a principle of humility; none of us can act alone." - Albert II, Prince of Monaco

 

Join us in celebrating International Day of Biological Diversity, where we take a look at what the day is all about and why it matters.  This years theme is “We’re part of the solution”. Looking at the logo above, you will see that each square is connected to the other, like a puzzle, this demonstrates how our actions and working together with nature, protecting, conserving, and using sustainable practices will produce a holistic planet that lives in harmony in every aspect.

Some history

The International Day of Biological Diversity has been around since the 90’s, where the United Nations General Assembly then chose the 29th of December to be declared as the International Day for Biological Diversity. This was later changed to the 22nd of May in commemoration of the date that the Convention on Biological Diversity was initially adopted back in 1992. The Convention of Biological Diversity is associated with the sustainable development goals set in 2015 (learn more about these goals here) and has grown to a 196-country involvement. The purpose of the convention and the calendar day is to increase the understanding of biodiversity and the issues our global biological diversity face, increase awareness, and through international support develop strategies to support the conservation of biological diversity.

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What is biodiversity, and why is it important?

Biodiversity includes every species from the smallest microorganisms, fungi, plants, animals, birds, etc. and how they interact with each other and how they live together. The important thing to remember is that without biodiversity we would not be here, nor could we survive. That is why the Convention on Biological Diversity’s goal is to raise awareness and increase understanding of biodiversity issues we face and how to sustainably manage and conserve biodiversity. Through increased awareness, protection and conservation of biodiversity we are not only protecting our precious planet but we are protecting ourselves. Biodiversity plays a vital role in food security, providing us with clean air, fresh water, medicine, and a clean and healthy environment to live in.

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Biodiversity in Nature’s Valley

Recently NVT along with residents and visitors to the Valley took part in the 6th annual City Nature Challenge over the weekend from April 30th to May 3rd. We pride ourselves in this small slice of natural beauty and from all the observations one begins to understand why. There was a huge turnout for the 2021 City Nature Challenge, with over 10 000 participants and over one million observations across the world in just four days. 

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Garden Route iNaturalist observations for the City Nature Challenge

These citizen science projects are valuable for important biodiversity research. iNaturalist is one of the most popular citizen science data networks, contributing to research across the world in biodiversity, climate change, and invasive species conservation where scientists gain access to a larger data collection network. Whereby, people who observe interesting aspects of and creatures in nature can submit pictures of their observations to this online database. Identifications of observations are made by a growing online presence of citizens and experts. The iNaturalist site is easy to get started with - to learn more about species identification and biodiversity.

The collective results for the City Nature Challenge were 1,270,767 observations; 45,300+ species (which included more than 2,100 rare/endangered/threatened species); and 52,777 participants. The Garden Route City Nature Challenge collected a total of 20 033 observations; 3076 species; with only 245 participants! Placing 11th for observations across the world and 2nd in South Africa, with Cape Town holding strong in 1st for both South Africa and the world. The Garden Route placed 5th in the world and 2nd in South Africa for total species. This is quite impressive when we consider there were only 245 observers for the whole Garden Route!

This was a lovely challenge to be part of and noting all the wonderful biodiversity observations we can begin to understand why it is so important to learn more about this and help to protect our biodiversity. We look forward to the 2022 City Nature Challenge where we hope to exceed our observation and species counts!

 

What can we do for biodiversity, and how do we do it?

There a number of combined and international efforts are already well under way to conserve, protect and restore our planets biodiversity. To get involved you can begin assisting in your local area by learning more about local organisations, projects, and resources to raise awareness on the issue and make a change in helping to protect biodiversity in your area.

If you are unable to help in local projects or initiatives, you can help right from the comfort of your home! How? Well, there are many things we can do and choices we can make to live a more sustainable life. Some of these could include: reducing usage of single-use plastics, shopping locally, recycling, avoid using pesticides and herbicides, and much more!

Keep an eye out on or pages where we will be introducing you to sustainable living and different ways you can help in protecting biodiversity in your area. If we each do one small thing to help the planet, this will add to a great change and make a huge impact on our planet and our lives.