“Human beings have overrun the world. We are replacing the wild with the tame. The story of how we came to make this our greatest mistake. Our planet is headed for disaster.” Chilling word of warning from David Attenborough. I really wish I could chalk this up to fear–mongering and try to ignore the cautionary message, but the facts are as clear as day. Our nature is in crisis, we are losing species at an unprecedented rate.
- 25% of the world’s species are currently at risk of going extinct in the decade of action (2020-2030).
- We are losing species 1,000x faster than any other time in human history.
- Only 3% of the ocean is free from human pressure
- 500 million species of insects are facing extinction
Stats obtained from the global assessment report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, which was prepared by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.
Save the World Wildlife Day
This tragic rate of destruction of our wildlife will endanger us all. The UN realized how big of a threat wildlife extinction was going to be. So, they desperately needed a phenomenon to galvanize the people, governments, civil societies and businesses to come together and help conserve our unique and spectacular environment. So, in 1992, the UN formed the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), whose primary purpose was to conserve biodiversity. CBD is a multilateral treaty, that was signed in Rio de Janeiro by 192 governments at the Earth Summit.
CBD’s most ambitious plan was announced in 2010. It was called “Aichi Biodiversity Targets” (ABT). Similar to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ABT had a total of 5 strategic goals and 20 targets, whose main objective was to halt the loss of wildlife. We will talk about the merits and failures of ABT in another blog. The announcement of the ABT marked the start of the UN’s decade on biodiversity. To maintain this momentum, on 20th December 2013, the UN partnered with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to declare March 3rd as “World Wildlife Day”.
The purpose of World Wildlife Day (WWD) is to celebrate and raise awareness about our extraordinary Earth’s wild animals and plants. Each year, WWD has a central theme that it aims to create awareness about.
- 2015: It’s time to get serious about wildlife crime
- 2016: The future of wildlife is in our hands
- 2017: Listen to the young voices
- 2018: Big cats – predators under threat
- 2019: Life below water – for people and the planet
- 2020: Sustaining all life on earth
One True Equality – Sustaining All Life on Earth
From the wildlife statistics that I showcased at the start of this blog; it is evident that the extinction crisis has not improved during the UN’s decade on biodiversity. This puts a lot of pressure on all of us in 2020. It needs to be a super year for nature and biodiversity. The air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, the energy we use and the raw materials we harvest, all come from nature. Damaging the environment is akin to damaging ourselves. We may create an irreversible domino effect. If the 1 million species that are currently facing extinction get wiped out, it will spell the demise of countless other species that depend on these ones, disrupting our ecosystem.
As the two famous proverbs go, procrastination is the thief of time and tomorrow never comes. We need to act now. And that is why, this year’s theme, “Sustaining all life on Earth”, is a perfect place for all of us to start thinking more about protecting our magnificent nature. The theme not only aligns with SDG 14 – Life Below Water and SDG 15 – Life on Land, but also with SDG 1 – No Poverty, SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production and SDG 13 – Climate Action.
This World Wildlife Day: Stop the Domino Effect
Today is the day. It is WWD. What can you and I do to help conserve this beautiful environment we have? If not the whole shebang, let us start by doing one of the following things today:
- Stay Informed – As a first step, find out which animal and plant species in your area (city/state/country) are under threat. What challenges are they facing and what can be done to preserve them.
- Sharing is Caring – Share your knowledge of wildlife conservation with all your friends and family. With the prevalence of social media, this is so much easier now.
- Assemble Your Community – Reach out and encourage your local politicians, celebrities, influencers, activists, businesses, schools, and colleges to actively discuss wildlife conservation. Discuss how your community can make a difference.
- Help Out – Donate to your local conservational projects (e.g. Botanical Gardens, National Parks and Reserves). Contributions don’t always have to come out of your pockets. You can also donate your time by volunteering.
- Be a Responsible Consumer – Do not purchase products that are illegally sourced. These often harm our environment. You can find out more information regarding this from CITES or your local wildlife authority.
- Unsung Hero – If you ever come across any form of illicit activities such as illegal logging, wildlife trade, fishing, etc. inform your local authorities. This will play a major role in putting an end to such heinous wildlife crimes.
We have one earth, and we share it with these magnificent animals and plants. We have lived in harmony with them before, we can live in harmony with them now. We owe it to our planet, wildlife and children. Let us not make homo–sapiens a museum artifact.
At SDG Plus, we believe in bringing communities together around the topic of sustainability, societies will have the opportunity to learn and assist from each other to create a sustainable future for all