Honoring International Day for Biodiversity

May 21, 2024

International Day for Biological Diversity is honored on May 22nd. This is a day that was first created in 1993 as a way to bring awareness to the rampant biodiversity loss being experienced across the globe due to climate change. For those who may not know, biodiversity is the number of varying plants, animals, fungi, and microorganisms that live in a given area, or the wildlife that makes up an environment. The issue most commonly known in the context of biodiversity loss is species endangerment and extinction. Bringing attention to this issue and helping to enact change are how we are conserving what remains, while also reintroducing or bolstering populations of different species. 

Furthermore, it is a way to begin tackling the triple planetary crisis, which is the vicious cycle of interaction or negative feedback loop between biodiversity loss, climate change, and pollution. We wanted to break down why this one portion of the crisis is an issue we care about and why you should as well.

There are 3 key reasons why this is an important issue from both a sustainability perspective and a food access perspective:

  1. The majority of biodiversity loss is manmade! Over half of the planet’s habitable land is used to support our agricultural needs. When, as a country, we are wasting 40% of food, we are massively contributing to the further loss of habitats and species for no reason at all! 
  2. A lack of biodiversity impacts available nutrients. To simplify a complex issue, when a reduction in flora and fauna impacts the ecosystem, it impacts water quality, pollination, and soil health, which impacts the ability to grow crops that meet the breadth of nutritional requirements in an area. 
  3. The homogenization of our global diets leaves us at an increased risk for crop failure and famine. Globally, only 9 plants make up 66% of crop production and 8 species of animals make up 97% of meat production. Having such a narrow pool of genetic variation in our food systems means that a new pathogen could wipe out the majority of a crop and cause massive economic and nutritional devastation across the globe. We saw this with a recent worldwide fungal scare in bananas!

This is the ugly reality and consequences of global biodiversity loss. It is an issue that impacts everyone and everything that calls Earth home. 

This year’s theme, or challenge, associated with International Day for Biodiversity is “Be a Part of the Plan.”  Everyone can promote biodiversity, be it by planting locally relevant species, preventing local food waste, or helping pollinators. By visiting this site, you can create a custom logo for yourself to show your support for increasing biodiversity. Post it on social media, and let your friends and family know about this important issue!