The world is a beautiful place to live. It is the only known planet to host life in the universe. Biodiversity refers to a vast variety of life on Earth. It is a combination of all living organisms; animals, plants, micro-organisms, and humans. According to the National Geographic Society, it is home to around 2 billion species of plants and animals. Its biodiversity is rich that only around 1.2 million species have been identified and described.
Every living organism has a right to live which must be respected without measuring their worth to human beings. Humans enjoy nature by looking at its amazing structures and colours which trigger our senses and enrich our culture. Biodiversity satisfies our needs including food sources, raw materials, medicine, educational values, and scientific research. They maintain the integrity of the environment.
We, humans, are the main threat to species and ecosystems. We have become selfish species that causes damage to meet our needs without respecting the natural rules to live on this planet. Our increasing population and demand for different resources, deforestation, pollution, and habit loss. According to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Our agricultural activities are releasing emissions of greenhouse gases. We are roughly 25% of total emissions.
In Pakistan, people are permitted to kill any species even endangered ones. Recently, some people were caught smuggling Peregrine falcons from Pakistan to UAE for millions of rupees which is a highly endangered migratory bird and needs to be protected. Even our national animal, Markhors are being hunted by the highest bidders every year. In November 2021, around 14 Arab dignitaries were issued Houbara Bustard hunting permits in Sindh. Other species under threat here are; Himalayan Brown Bear, Asian White-backed Vulture, Snow Leopard, Pallas Cat, Black Buck, Indus River Dolphin, Giant Mahaseer, and Marco Polo Sheep. In plants; Asparagus gharoensis, Scaveola plumereri, Scaveola taccada, Allium gilgiticum, Arabidopsis brevicaulis, Saxifraga duthei, Cousinia matifeldei, Taraxacum chitralicum, Pedicularis caeruleoalbescens, Nepeta schinidii, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza and Sonneratia caseolaris.
Every living organism is an essential part of our ecosystem. When we lose them, it shows that there is something wrong and we have to intervene to protect them, otherwise it will affect humans negatively. One can play an active role in creating in preserving these beautiful species by following some of the steps;
- Reduce use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers
- Get involved with ecological restoration in your area
- Reduce, reuse and recycle
- Use environmental friendly products
- Buy organic foods
- Buy sustainability harvested seafood
- Aim for energy conservation in your home
- Reduce single-person car use
- Incorporate renewable energy into your home
- Raise your voice for the eco-friendly policies of your government.
- Create awareness among your friends
Healthy ecosystems are vital for the well-being of wildlife and people. Without drastic plant and efficient execution of the plans, no species is safe here. According to a UN report, the rate of species extinction is increasing at a higher rate which can make millions of species go extinct not in millions of years by just in 1 to 2 decades. It needs to be the top agenda of the local, national and international forums. We must realize that this planet is for us only but it is also the home to millions of other species. WWF and other organizations are working hard to reverse the loss and we all have to be part of the campaigns to save other species to save ourselves.
Shameer Khokhar – Social Studies / Pakistan Studies