This year, the world is celebrating the International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22 with the theme Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health. According to the United Nations IPBES Global Assessment Summary, as many as one million plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction. The 1,500-page report outlines the alarming declines of these species and the negative impact that has had on the Earth’s ecosystems and people all over the world. The report also found climate change and human activities, such as unsustainable farming and fishing, logging, poaching, and mining to be the main reasons for the enormous decline in biodiversity.
Biodiversity is closely linked to our food and our health. Sustainable approaches to agriculture can help to preserve biodiversity and restore and maintain balance in the ecosystem, which in turn has a positive impact on our health. Changing the current food system to a more sustainable model can lead to better food security, especially in developing countries, and provide more nutrients for improved health among people. Under the Natural Agriculture approach, farmers are encouraged to use local heirloom seed varieties and to preserve the purity of those seeds as a key factor in ensuring a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods in our diets. While the heavy use of toxic chemicals in conventional agriculture can increase risks to our health, poison pollinators and other animals, and deplete the nutrients in the soil, Natural Agriculture farmers are taught to listen to nature and avoid the use of pesticides and other toxins in growing our food so that we can all thrive. For example, the presence of butterflies, bees, and dragonflies are just as important as the crops and the soil health in a balanced ecosystem.
Unless we increase efforts to protect natural habitats and repair and strengthen our relationship with nature, biodiversity loss is projected to increase through 2050. As we continue to find ways to restore balance in our ecosystems, lets remember the importance all elements that contribute to our well-being and the making of our food. The health of our planet and our own health are not just interconnected, they are one and the same.
To learn more, please visit the Convention on Biological Diversity website here.