In Diversity There Is Beauty And Strength
Author: Jess McCallum
Today is the International Day for Biological Diversity - and although it sounds technical, the message is simple: we need to increase our understanding and awareness of the world's biodiversity - that is, the variety of all living things; the different plants, animals and micro organisms that make up the global environment. They need caring for and they need protecting.
Why is it important?
Humans depend, directly and indirectly, on living systems for survival. Regardless of how technologically advanced we are, we rely on nature's basics - the food, fibre, materials and energy from our environment for our continuing existence. And we're in a remarkable place here in Australia. Australia has a rich variety of native plants, animals and other organisms, and in fact, according to the International Convention on Biodiversity, between 7-10% of all species on Earth are found in this country, which gives us even more of a reason to look after it.
Unfortunately, more than 1,700 species and ecological communities in Australia are known to be threatened and at risk of extinction. Our biodiversity is becoming increasingly vulnerable because of the impacts of a range of pressures, including habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation, invasive species, unsustainable use and management of natural resources, changes to the aquatic environment and water flows, changing fire regimes and climate change.
What's being done?
The good news is Australia is part of the International Convention on Biodiversity, which requires countries to prepare a national biodiversity strategy and to ensure that this strategy is implemented (known as National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans). Again, while it sounds very formal and technical, it really is something we can all work together on to see its successful roll out - simple, positive actions for the greater environmental good.
Australia's Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2010-2030 was agreed in October 2010 and is a guiding framework for conserving our nation's biodiversity over the coming decades. It includes short-term national targets for implementation in the first five-year period (i.e. by 2015) - a date which is closing in...
What You Can Do
There are 10 targets that form part of Australia's response. Two of those targets can be address by participating in Planet Ark's National Tree Day. Those targets are:
- To achieve a 25% increase in the number of Australians and public and private organisations that participate in biodiversity conservation activities by 2015.
- To achieve a national increase of 600,000km2 of native habitat managed primarily for biodiversity conservation across terrestrial, aquatic and marine environments.
Each year, Schools Tree Day (25th July) and National Tree Day (27th July) bring hundreds of thousands of people together at thousands of sites to plant and care for trees, shrubs and grasses. Over the years more than 20 million plants have been planted by schools, councils, Landcare, Men of the Trees, Greening Australia and private landowners, under the umbrella of National Tree Day.
You can participate in National Tree Day by:
You can view Australia's Biodiversity Conservation Strategy, including the ten targets and priorities for action, here.