Are we responsible and accountable to flora and fauna of the world? We may say yes superficially but truth is we are not sensitive to Biodiversity. We need to understand that very basis of our life is life around us whether animate or inanimate, biotic or abiotic. The alarming rate at which the biodiversity is being affected worldwide because of various industrialised developments taking place reveals that we humans are quite insensitive to other life forms.
Biodiversity means the variability among living organisms from all sources including terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems. The diversity includes variability within species (genetic diversity) as well as between species (species diversity) and ecosystems (ecosystem diversity). It provides services such as water purification and supply, waste assimilation and the cleaning of air and water, regulation of pests and diseases, and soil nutrient cycling and fertility. Biodiversity helps mitigate unpredictable global changes and natural disasters. A rich biodiversity is the basis for good health, food security, economic growth, livelihood security and moderation of climatic conditions. The annual contribution of biodiversity to the world is put at $33 trillion.
What can be done
No doubt, Development is necessary. But we need to change the definition of development. In contemporary world, USA and Europe stand as an example of what development is and emerging economies are trying to follow the same footsteps which is actually a folly. It is estimated that if every human being on earth utilises the resources in same way as an average American then we may not leave anything for future generations. It may result in end of the civilisation.
So, what can be the changed definition of development in synch with contemporary scenario.
A skyscraper should be done away as a symbol of development. Instead a village where organic farming for food, solar panels or renewable sources for electricity, hybrid fuels for public transport etc. are used, should become exemplary to showcase development to world. Research and development results on renewable sources should be shared with emerging and least developed countries. Technology and equipment transfer of green technology should be done from Developed countries towards rest of world. This should be done thinking that we live in one Global village and contribution towards other countries’ green fund is actually a contribution towards contemporary global village we all are part of. Another way to bring the integration of development with biodiversity is to spread awareness to masses that what sustainable development is. Ozone layer depletion, endangered species, extinct species, carbon credits are actually alien terms to majority of masses.
It is clear that to achieve many national and international biodiversity goals such as the National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, as well as meet CBD objectives, biodiversity integration into developmental sectors is a pre- requisite. For this to happen active participation from Central and State governments is needed. Private sectors need to come forward for this cause and do funding for the research. Public Private partnerships is another efficient way to make this happen.
In the end, it is We the People who are responsible and accountable to our surroundings. We may not be capable of taking actions but very much capable of responding. Actions will follow once we start responding as a common man to our flora and fauna and also the initiatives being taken in the society. It is not only Government and Private institutions’ prerogative but also common man’s prerogative to bring in Green technology in simple housekeeping.
Sunil K Awasthi
Faculty, North East Institute of Advanced Studies [NE-IAS]