Celebrating International Day for Biological Diversity

What is Biological Diversity?

You may have heard the term Biological Diversity thrown around, but what does it really mean?

Biodiversity means a wide variety of living things. It can also refer to a variety of genes and natural ecosystems types – anything that relates to life and the natural environment.

Why is it important?

You might ask why does this matter to me? There are many reasons, as bio-diverse ecosystems have many benefits.

  • A variety of crops mean a variety of foods to enjoy.

A wide variety of foods enrich our lives.

  • Diversity is interesting, beautiful, and enjoyable to experience. When we travel, we are often excited to see new and unusual species – that is part of biodiversity.

A diverse array of plants and wildlife help keep us fed, healthy, and inspired. Photo of a Black-and-white Warbler by Gerald Romanchuk.

A diverse array of plants and wildlife help keep us fed, healthy, and inspired. Photo of a Black-and-white Warbler by Gerald Romanchuk.

  • typically, more diverse ecosystems are more resistant to environmental damage or change, and have a greater capacity to recover from disasters.

  • We depend on well-functioning ecosystems. All of the food we eat, resources we use to create energy, medicines, and the environment we live in is natural or derived from natural ecosystems. We have learned from our natural environment about how to build structures, what materials to use, and even how to fly. Our world would look very different without robust, diverse, and healthy ecosystems.

Well-functioning ecosystems help us resist catastrophes and environmental change. Photos by Betty Fisher.

Well-functioning ecosystems help us resist catastrophes and environmental change. Photos by Betty Fisher.

Over time, many individual and organizations have become more aware of the importance of biodiversity. In 1993, the UN declared May 22 to be the International Day of Biological Diversity. Since then they celebrate each year with various themes to promote and to protect biodiversity.

EALT’s Role in Conserving Biodiversity

EALT was established in 2007 with the goal of protecting biodiversity forever into the future. In our first 10 years, we have secured more than one conservation land per year, to reach 12 in our 10th anniversary year. EALT focuses on protecting biodiversity in areas in danger of being lost, in order to ensure their survival into the future.

Projection of the growth of Edmonton and surrounding municipalities in 1951, 2007, and 2057.

Projection of the growth of Edmonton and surrounding municipalities in 1951, 2007, and 2057.

To demonstrate our commitment, the fledgling EALT, in 2009, signed a commitment to the International decade of Conservation and have done our part to contribute to the protection of biodiversity.

The declaration asks three steps from each signing organisation (all of which EALT has done):

  1. Support the 2010 biodiversity target;

  2. Encourage decision makers to take action;

  3. Commit yourself to reducing biodiversity loss.

EALT supports the protection of biodiversity directly by protecting habitat for wildlife and plants, and indirectly by reaching out to the public to educate them on how they can protect biodiversity. We cannot protect nature without people – so it is equally important to inspire the next generation to care about nature and biodiversity

What can I do?

  • Be a good steward of your own backyard. Our world is full of different ecosystems, including urban ones. Read more about how to keep your yard safe for wildlife here.

  • Be a good steward of public spaces. Don’t litter, and even better, pick up garbage that you see in public spaces.

  • Volunteer with EALT. We need help to maintain our Conservation Lands as ideal spaces for wildlife to thrive. We pull weeds, take down fences, put up bird and bat boxes, and clean them out at the end of the year. You can find out more about volunteering with EALT, and get involved here!

  • Spread the word – Talk to your friends about biodiversity, and share information on social media. Contact your politicians (MLA and MP) on issues relating to the environment and biodiversity. The more we talk, and the more we act to protect biodiversity, the greater the impact we can make will be.

What will your impact for biodiversity be?

Sunset in nature by Doris May.

Sunset in nature by Doris May.

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Find more information about International Day for Biological Diversity here:

https://www.cbd.int/idb/

https://biodivcanada.chm-cbd.net/