Webinar on Nurturing Nature to Mark International Biodiversity Day
The School of Environment and Natural Resources, Doon University will celebrate the International Day of Biological Diversity on May 22. However, due to current Covid-19 crisis it will be commemorated online. A webinar on the theme “Our Solutions are in nature, nurture nature for future” is being organised on this occasion. The session will be chaired by the university vice chancellor professor AK Karnataka.
The keynote speaker of the event is director of National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow professor SK Barik. The head of the School of Environment – professor Kusum Arunachalam and other faculty members will also deliberate on the theme of the webinar. Student activities on the occasion will include photography, poster making, content writing and video making which will be open to all the students across the country .
Speaking to the Pioneer on the eve of the day, Arunachalam shared her views on the importance of the day in the present context. She said that the United Nations in February this year declared 2020 as a “ Super Year” for biodiversity as it marked the completion of the UN decade on Biodiversity which was initiated in 2011. A large number of important global meetings were planned such as World Conservation Congress in France; a United Nations Ocean Conference in Portugal; and a Nature Summit in New York. These discussions were to culminate in October at a major global biodiversity conference in China, billed as the “Paris for biodiversity”, a reference to COP21, where a landmark 2015 climate agreement was forged. “The declaration of next decade by the UN as the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration opens up huge opportunities and challenges for the nations across the globe to restore their degraded lands,” she said.
“The theme of Biodiversity day this year puts emphasis on nature based solutions and our commitments to nurture the nature for future,” she added.
She said that the link between pandemics and biodiversity is now becoming better understood and appreciated. “The present crisis is not completely new. The research in the past has shown whenever there has been damage to the natural ecosystems, the infectious diseases appear. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa was the result of deforestation, leading to closer contact between humans and wildlife. The avian flu was linked to intensive poultry farming and the Nipah virus resulted from the intensification of pig farming in Malaysia.”
Arunanchalam said that bat-associated viruses, thought to be the cause of the latest coronavirus, emerged from the loss of bat habitat from deforestation and agricultural expansion. “Logging, mining, road building in remote places, dam building, irrigation, coastal development, rapid urbanisation, population growth — all lead to biodiversity loss. Another is fire, such as the Amazon blazes last year. In its aftermath, altered habitat can yield less food, sending foraging wildlife into contact with nearby humans, creating vectors for zoonotic bacteria, viruses and parasites. As per the World Economic Forum (WEF) , the world has lost 60 per cent of all wildlife in the last 50 years and the number of new infectious diseases has quadrupled in the last sixty years,” she said. The webinar would discuss all these aspects , she added.
Friday, 22 May 2020 | PNS | Dehradun
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