International Day for Biological Diversity

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2024 Date22 May 2024
2025 Date22 May 2025

International Day for Biological Diversity

International Day for Biological Diversity in

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International Day for Biological Diversity History

The International Day for Biological Diversity is a global observance aimed at celebrating and raising awareness about the importance of biodiversity on our planet. Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on Earth, encompassing the variety of ecosystems, species, and genetic resources. This day highlights the crucial role that biodiversity plays in the health of the planet and the ecosystem services it provides, such as clean water, air, nutritious food, as well as cultural and recreational benefits. The Observance also highlights the continuous challenges we face concerning climate change, habitat loss, pollution, and invasive species that negatively affect biodiversity and the need for urgent action to conserve and sustainably manage this essential resource.

The International Day for Biological Diversity was designated by the United Nations in 2000, commemorating the adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity on 22 May 1992. South Africa, being one of the world's mega-biodiverse countries, is home to a wide range of endemic species and unique ecosystems. South Africa’s rich biodiversity is crucial for its people's livelihoods, local economies and conservation of ecological processes. In light of climate change and growing urbanization, raising awareness of this important resource is essential for advancing the country’s commitment to sustainable development and environmental conservation.

Typical activities for celebrating the International Day for Biological Diversity in South Africa may include participating in events such as tree planting initiatives, educational workshops, nature walks, and public lectures. The observance takes place annually on 22 May, encouraging citizens to recognize and support the nation’s biodiverse heritage and its vital role in sustaining life on Earth.

Facts about Biological Diversity

  • Scientists estimate that there are anywhere between 8.7 million to 30 million species on Earth. However, only about 1.5 million species have been identified and classified thus far.
  • Despite covering less than 1% of the ocean floor, coral reefs are estimated to be home to 25% of all marine species.
  • Habitat degradation and the loss of biodiversity is a threat to the livelihood of over 1 billion people who live in dry and subhumid climates.
  • The Cape Floristic Region is one of the world's 36 biodiversity hotspots and is home to more than 9,000 plant species, 70% of which are endemic to the region.
  • South Africa has one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world, with about 10% of the world's plant species found in the country.

Top things to do in South Africa for this observance

  • Spread awareness on social media by using the hashtags #InternationalDayForBiologicalDiversity, #IDBD and #BiologicalDiversity.
  • Join the international Day for Biological Diversity Google Hangout where you can video stream yourself and with other people to discuss biological diversity with like-minded individuals.
  • Watch a movie about biological diversity in South Africa today. Here are our top picks:
    1. My Octopus Teacher (2020) - This Netflix documentary follows a filmmaker who forms an unlikely bond with an octopus while diving in the South African kelp forests, showcasing the marine biodiversity of the region.
    2. Blood Lions (2015) - This controversial documentary exposes the South African canned hunting industry and its impact on lion populations, exploring issues of biodiversity and conservation.
    3. Oceans: Our Blue Planet (2018) - This BBC Earth documentary showcases the diversity and beauty of the world's oceans, featuring incredible footage from the South African coastlines and marine life.
  • Read a book about the biological diversity in South Africa. Here are some suggestions:
    1. Plants of Southern Africa: An Annotated Checklist by Gerrit Germishuizen and Brenda L. Clarke
    2. Field Guide to Fynbos by John Manning and Colin Paterson-Jones
    3. Birds of Southern Africa: The Region's Most Comprehensive Guide to its 1000+ species by Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey, and Norman Arlott.

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