Today as the world celebrates International Bio-diversity Day we dedicate a space on our various platforms to call on the President of Ghana and the United Nations to pay more attention to education and allocate more funding for programs aimed at protecting all living organism.
Bio-diversity can simply be described as a variety of life. It is the variability among living organisms from all sources, including terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species, and of ecosystems.
The word Bio-diversity is derived from two words. They are:
Biology is the study of living organisms, divided into many specialized fields that cover their morphology, physiology, anatomy, behaviour, origin, and distribution.
The study covers the following:
a. Plants and animals of a particular area. For example, the study of species in a backyard garden.
b. The physiology, behaviour, and other qualities of a particular organism or class of organisms. For example, human biology.
Biodiversity is a term used to describe every living organism within a single ecosystem or habitat including numbers and diversity of species and all environmental aspects such as temperature, oxygen , carbon dioxide levels and climate.
Today is a special day in many countries around the World. The reason is simple. It represents the existence of life so nations that understand Bio-Diversity do not allow it to pass by without notice and thanks to COVID-19 the United Nations would not have the luxury to assemble delegates to wine and dine in comfortable halls and hotels with needed funds that could be used to finance education and find alternative livelihood for persons who continue to fell trees to produce charcoal close to deserts and, those who live close to the sea and use DDT and light technology to catch fish. The United Nations could also provide funding to support projects aimed at protecting habitats.
In Ghana, the day is referred to as the ‘Earth Day. The day is said to be commemorated online on the theme: “Climate Action,” due to the threat posed to humans by COVID-19.
Information available indicates that this year’s celebration would be done online with a three-level virtual video contests for students on the theme: “Climate Action,”
The contests are open to Junior High, Senior High and Undergraduate University Students living in Ghana.
In the contest, Junior High School (JHS) Students are to submit a 30-second to a 1-minute video in which they answer the question: “What environmental problem are you most concerned about and what is the most important thing people can do to address it?
Senior High School (SHS) students will submit a 1 to 2-minute video featuring the student singing a song, reciting a poem, or rapping to educate people about why protecting the earth’s forests and other natural resources are important to help combat climate change.
Undergraduate Students are to submit a 4 to 6- minute video that demonstrates “3 Ways Ghana Can Become a Leader in Addressing Climate Change.”
The information fell short to mention which media platforms the contest would be shown and widely the materials would be circulated.
It is therefore not out of place to say the country is not effectively promoting the day and so therefore conclusions can be drawn that Ghana’s awareness creation would fall short of expectation.
Ghana is required to do more because without biodiversity, the health of our planet is at stake. It is therefore necessary to accept that every single specie, including that of viruses, mosquitoes, bacteria, snakes, crocodile etc has a role to play in life on Earth.
A healthy ecosystem has a rich level of biodiversity. The less inhabitable an ecosystem, the less life it can support. Biodiversity increases soil formation, nutrient storage, energy storage, recycling, and the breaking down of toxins and pollutants. Rich biodiversity will speed the recovery of the environment after a natural disaster. Just days a rain after prolonged dry season, new plants lives spring up from plants whose seeds could withstand high temperatures.
Deforestation, thus cutting down trees for whatever purpose, that is, to create space to build, to burn into charcoal,
to build a cathedral etc, means removing trees responsible for the conversion of carbon dioxide into oxygen.
Biodiversity also has a role to play in the stability of the ecosystem and global climate. This increase in carbon dioxide levels in the air is partially (but significantly) responsible for global warming. Deforestation also leads to soil erosion which can cause serious land degradation that could have very devastating effect for humans and other species. The domino effect means less food for herbivores (primary consumers) and a consequent reduction in populations due to competition. And with fewer herbivores, one can expect reduced populations of omnivores and carnivores. As every organism has a role to play in its ecosystem, the act of deforestation without (at minimum) replanting lost mature trees, can be catastrophic both locally and globally.
Researchers have estimated that there are between 3 – 30 million species on Earth, with a few studies predicting that there may be over 100 million species on Earth.
Total identified stand only at 1.7 million species. This means there is a long way to go before scientist can come close to figuring out how many species are on Earth.
- There is more biodiversity within tropical ecosystems than temperate ecosystems. Tropical rain forests have the most diversity.
- The most diverse group of animals are invertebrates. Invertebrates are animals without backbones, including insects, crustaceans, sponges, scorpions and many other kinds of organisms. Over half of all the animals already identified are invertebrates. Beetles are some of the most numerous species.
- Science has so much more to learn about the biodiversity of microscopic organisms like bacteria and protozoa.
In summary, it is not out place to call for more attention and funding for Bio-diversity projects/programs because it has everything to do with co-existence of a variety of species and their interrelated benefits. It also means every specie has a role to play, one way or another, to the existence of other species.