Hot Topics Calendar
Exploring current issues in the classroom
This feature was developed by Resources for Rethinking to connect students to some of the efforts being made to solve important problems that are affecting our planet. Hot Topics are published during the school year to coincide with the timing of national and international campaigns taking place to raise awareness of these key issues.
Each Hot Topic edition includes links to classroom materials from theResources for Rethinking database that will encourage students and teachers to explore the environmental, economic and social dimensions of these issues and to take action in support of the larger campaign.
International Day for Biological Diversity
May 22nd, 2015
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. The theme for this year’s event is 'Bioiversity for Sustainable Development'.
While this theme was chosen by the United Nations General Assembly to emphasize the relationship between biodiversity and sustainable development, The International Day for Biological Diversity provides an excellent opportunity for students and teachers to explore biodiversity issues within 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
- 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.