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Lightbulb UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon officially launches the International Year of Biodiversity - January 15th 2010, 02:39 AM

Firstly, here's a scientific definition of biodiversity:

The number, variety, and genetic variation of different organisms found within a specified geographic region.


With quite an emphasis on the variety and genetic variation, this includes EVERY living thing, microbial organisms, animals and plants. Together they form biodiversity in "Gaia" (the biosphere and Earth as a self-regulating, complex interacting system that maintains the climatic and biogeochemical conditions in a preferred homeostasis).

Quote:
Montreal, 12 January 2010 – Launching the International Year of Biodiversity in Berlin yesterday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged the world to take the necessary steps to protect the biological diversity of the Earth.

"The conservation of biological diversity has the same dimension as climate protection. We need a trend reversal - not at some point in the future, but immediately", said German Federal Chancellor Merkel, speaking on behalf of the current Presidency of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention, in addressing more than 400 participants from the diplomatic corps, government, civil society, international organizations, scientists, business, and media at the celebration held in the Museum of Natural History in Berlin, Germany.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity to coincide with the deadline adopted by Governments in 2002 to achieve a significant reduction in the rate of loss of the diversity of species and ecosystems of the planet. According to scientists, the rate of loss due to human activities is as much as 1,000 times higher than the background rate.
Source: UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme)


Quote:
Boosting Biodiversity Can Boost Global Economy

Speaking at the launch of the UN's International Year of Biodiversity in Berlin today, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP's Executive Director Achim Steiner said that an unprecedented scientific, economic, political and public awareness effort was needed to reverse-and to stop- the loss of the planet's natural assets.

These losses include its biodiversity such as animal and plant species and the planet's ecosystems and their multi-trillion dollar services arising from forests and freshwater to soils and coral reefs.

"The words biodiversity and ecosystems might seem abstract and remote to many people. But there is nothing abstract about their role in economies and in the lives of billions of people," said Mr. Steiner at the meeting hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "Take coral reefs for example. The range of benefits generated by these ecosystems and the biodiversity underpinning them are all too often invisible and mainly undervalued by those in charge of national economies and international development support," he added.

The latest estimates by The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) study, which UNEP hosts, indicates that coral reefs generate annually up to US$189,000 per hectare in terms of coastal defenses and other areas of 'natural hazard management'. "In terms of diving and other tourism revenues, the annual services generated equate to perhaps US$1 million; genetic materials and bio-prospecting, up to US$57,000 per hectare annually and fisheries, up to US$3,800 per hectare per year," explained Mr. Steiner.

Meanwhile, it is estimated, for example, that one fifth of coral reefs are already seriously degraded or under imminent risk of collapse as a result of unsustainable human activities such as coastal developments, over-fishing, destructive fishing practices and pollution.

Climate change and ocean acidification, linked with the build-up of carbon dioxide, could eventually see 50 per cent and perhaps up to 100 per cent loss of coral reefs worldwide.
Source: UNEP


How important do you think biodiversity is? How far should we go to protect it? Or should we start to restore it, why?
Do you think we should restore as much as possible so we can leave the Earth to our children and grandchildren as we inherited it, if not better? Is that our responsibility?
How important do you think biodiversity is to the global economy?

Is this year of biodiversity a good idea?



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The best way to predict the future is to create it - Peter F. Drucker

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