May 22, International Day for Biological Diversity


On December 19, 1994, the General Assembly proclaimed May 22, the date of entry into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity, as International Day for Biological Diversity (resolution 49/119).

Biological diversity, or biodiversity, is the term that refers to the wide variety of living things on Earth and the natural patterns that they make up. The biological diversity that we observe today is the fruit of billions of years of evolution, shaped by natural processes and, increasingly, by human influence. This diversity forms the vital network on which we are an integral part and on which we depend so much. Diversity is often understood to mean the wide variety of existing plants, animals and microorganisms.

Today that mosaic is being altered by humans. Since the beginning of agriculture, some 10,000 years ago, and until the industrial revolution of the last three centuries, we have modified our landscapes on an increasingly large and irreversible scale.

From felling trees with stone tools we have literally moved mountains to extract the resources of the Earth. The old collection methods are being replaced by more intensive technologies, often without any kind of control to avoid over-collection. For example, the fishery resources that for centuries have fed communities have been depleted within a few years by huge radar-guided ships, using nets capable of engulfing a dozen supersonic aircraft at a time.

By consuming a growing proportion of natural resources, we have achieved more abundant food and better housing, sanitation and health care conditions, but these achievements are often accompanied by increasing environmental degradation, which can then translate into the degradation of local economies and the societies they support.

We hold the key to the sustainability of our home, of our planet. If we continue to maintain a standard of living focused on consumerism and waste, we will end up with the richness of life and, in the medium and long term, with ourselves.

More information | Convention on Biological Diversity More information | FAO More information | OEI Directly to the Palate | Globalization, localization, ecology and food consumption En Directo al Paladar | The catastrophic rise in food prices

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