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International Day for Biological Diversity
May 22nd, 2017

May 22nd is recognized around the world as the International Day for Biodiversity.   In 1993 the United Nations proclaimed this annual celebration to raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity and to encourage the protection of all species.  

This year’s theme, Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism is intended to direct attention to the crucial role of attractive landscapes and rich biodiversity in supporting tourism economies and to emphasize how well-managed tourism sectors contribute to plant and animal diversity while at the same time generating significant revenue.

The International Day for Biological Diversity also provides an excellent opportunity for students and teachers to explore those biodiversity issues relevant to their own communities.

Why Care About Biological Diversity?

  • The more biodiverse an ecosystem, the greater its ability to withstand disturbance.
  • Even the smallest and most obscure species play vital roles in sustaining the web of life in all ecosystems.
  • Biodiversity provides goods and services essential for human health – including nutrients, clean air and water and regulation of pests and vector-based diseases
  • Biodiversity is a vital asset in global and local economies. 
  • A rich biodiversity underpins a multitude of social and economic opportunities in wildlife and eco-tourism.
  • The extinction of each additional species brings the irreversible loss of unique genetic codes which are often linked to development of medicines, crops, and jobs.
  • Of the top 150 prescription drugs, 118 originally have come from living creatures. Cures for existing and future diseases may well be found in nature’s inventory of species. The potential pharmaceutical value of marine ecosystems is estimated at more than five trillion dollars.
  • Not since the disappearance of the dinosaurs has the rate of species extinction been greater than today. Virtually all of this loss is being caused by human activities.
  • Clean and secure supplies of water depend on biodiversity.
  • Food production also depends on biodiversity and the services provided by ecosystems.
  • The loss of biodiversity is perhaps the only truly irreversible global environmental change the Earth faces today.

Resources 4 Rethinking encourages students and teachers to participate in the International Day for Biological Diversity. Top R4R Picks will connect you to some excellent resources to support these efforts.

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