Today (22 May 2010), the world celebrates the International Day for Biological Diversity (IBD) under the theme 'Biodiversity, Development and Poverty Alleviation'. This year's event is a unique opportunity to raise public awareness on the importance of biodiversity for sustainable development and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.
The day of Biodiversity is a time where ordinary people like you and me can become involved in something much bigger, so today you could be introducing your friends and family to the whole diverse world out there - and hopefully making a difference to their future.
Here in Madagascar for example, an environmental NGO named VAKAN'ALA is trying to make difference by reversing deforestation. This malagasy non-profit helps the community of Mananbolo in the south ouest region of Madagascar to restore productivity to their land and to create economic opportunity out of environmental restoration.
Many botanists have praised the unique flora of Madagascar, but the most relevant praise likely came from the French botanist Commerson when he wrote, in 1771:
"What an admirable country is Madagascar. It deserves not an itinerant observer but entire academies. Madagascar is truly the naturalist's promised land. Here nature seems to have withdrawn into a private sanctuary in order to work in designs which are different from those she has created elsewhere. At every step you are met by the most bizarre and wonderful forms."
Madagascar harbors some 13,000 plant species, of which 85 percent are endemic to the island. However, so much of Madagascar's wildlife is now threatened that the island is frequently considered to be the single highest conservation priority in the world.
Since the Malagasy flora is disappearing at an alarming rate due to massive deforestation, there is an urgent need to evaluate the present state of knowledge of this flora in terms of economic value and to conserve the remaining forests to ensure the future availability of known and undiscovered medicines, essential oils, and foods.
Protecting biodiversity is the basis of human well-being, yet biodiversity is being threatened by development choices that ignore its full value to us all, and particularly to the poorest. Reversing this negative trend is not only possible, but essential to human well-being.
Your Best action to celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity (IBD):
Photo Courtesy : Sri Ramachandra - Divine Spirit of Nature