The International Day for Biodiversity takes place on the 22nd of May with the goal of increasing understanding and awareness of current biodiversity issues. The chosen theme this year is “Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health” with a focus on emphasising the message that our food systems, nutrition, and health rely heavily on biodiversity and fully-functional ecosystems. Without them, we simply cannot exist.
According to the United Nations, in the last century, more than 90% of crop varieties have disappeared from farmers’ fields and half of the breeds of many domestic animals have been lost. Furthermore, all 17 of the world’s main fishing grounds are now being fished at or above their sustainable limits.
What About in South Africa?
The Convention on Biological Diversity states that South Africa is home to 10% of the world’s plant species and 7% of its reptile, bird and mammal species. It also harbours around 15% of the world’s marine species. However, South Africa definitely isn’t immune to biodiversity problems. In fact, our biodiversity is greatly endangered at present. National Red List assessments show that up to 10% of South Africa’s birds and frogs, 20% of its mammals and 13% of its plants are threatened.
What Does This Mean for Our Country?
What can we, as individuals and communities, do to counteract the damage that has already been done, and to prevent any further damage from taking place?
The easiest way is to start living cleaner and greener:
- Help native pollinators by creating a bee-friendly garden
- Avoid using fertiliser and pesticides
- Reduce your levels of consumption
- Try to go plastic-free whenever possible
- Use eco-friendly cleaning products
- Do your part to restore natural habitat in your garden and in your community
Pollution and the loss of natural habitat are two of the greatest contributing factors when it comes to the earth’s rapidly declining biodiversity. You can help to restore habitat by providing creatures with easy access to water, food and shelter in your yard – whether it’s massive or a tiny little balcony. You can also volunteer within your community. Join wildlife foundations and nature societies and, of course, spread the word!
For more information on how you can make a difference, don’t hesitate to contact Letsolo on 082 821 6621.