Biodiversity Day: Part of solution in the context of SDGs

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PETER MAKWANYA

BY PETER MAKWANYA

May 22 2021, became significant in people’s lives because of one thing, the earth. There is the only one earth, which is the natural capital of the world. The earth is our home, our hope and the only destination we have known. For this reason, everyone has a role to play to make the world habitable.

As the world commemorated the significance of this day there were life-long lessons to be learnt and remembered.

This was not a day to pop champagne for those who can afford it or to be viewed on television. Modern-day social media conservationists and pretenders, glorified themselves more than the earth itself.

Indeed, this was not an ordinary day but a special occasion to reflect on the natural capital of the world, which underpins all economic activities, environmental sustainability and human well-being.

In this regard, biodiversity became the world’s most important asset and to be part of a solution, everyone should be a defender and a steward of precious earth.

Every nation has a role play towards safeguarding the earth.

As nations make a positive footprint to make the earth habitable, they are faced with numerous challenges. These include hunger, poverty, poor health service delivery systems, lack of quality education, gender inequality, constrained economic growth, among others, all of which are overshadowed by climate change.

Everyone should be part of a solution to all these challenges. But what has everyone done as humanity’s demands on the natural capital become unsustainable?

The agenda for sustainable development, an intergovernmental commitment, a plan of action for the people, planet and prosperity is under threat.

The multiplication of earth-related problems are not what the people want to see but solutions to these injustices.

The earth’s forests are shrinking leading to a decline in biodiversity due to population expansion and greed, while density on the earth is increasing and the earth’s holding capacity is overwhelmed.

The plunder of natural resources is indiscriminate and the health of the atmosphere is in a polluted and poisoned state, hence the earth needs not natural healing from the sins of carbon but everlasting solutions.

These can only be realised when people are sincere, committed and stop safeguarding their own self-serving agendas at the expense of environmental sustainability.

Instead of becoming environmental stewards and guardians of the earth, humanity has become agents of destruction.

The state of biodiversity has become ungovernable, leaving natural capital exposed and vulnerable.

As the world commemorated Biodiversity Day, it is a pity that it has opted for solutions which are an end without putting much emphasis on the means leading to those solutions.

It appears that those who crafted this year’s theme were preoccupied with results.

While there is nothing wrong with the solutions as desired outcomes, how people come up with these solutions is critical and fundamental.

This would cast doubts on the critical restorations and healing that the earth is yelling for, in the context of sustainable development goals (SDGs), which place much emphasis on inclusion rather than the end which does not justify the means.

The role of the earth as a life-supporting system is compromised hence everyone has a duty to deliver the earth from a series of ongoing unsustainable human activities and climate injustices perpetrated upon it.

The world faces a dilemma of climate-related disasters and a lethal pandemic which is threatening to wipe out humanity.

The width, breadth and depth of the natural ecosystems is now at the mercy of the corrupt world, whereby setting a thief to catch a thief or policing the police is becoming difficult.

The realisation of desired solutions, entails positive energy and actions designed to tame harmful human behaviours, striving for ecosystem restoration and sustainable land use recovery from biodiversity losses, among others.

Therefore, mainstreaming biodiversity activities in every aspect of human survival should be a priority of every government.

One major undoing is that the earth as the natural capital of the world faces a dilemma of being commodified and monetised by the rich and powerful nations, where every biodiversity component is seen in terms of economic value rather than natural value life-support systems.

This has witnessed the human desires to make profit at the expense of livelihood issues.

Recently around the world, we witnessed an increased number of protected areas and forests being exploited for economic gain rather than environmental sustainability.

A case in point is that of the Okavango delta, where multinational corporations have defied sanity and humanitarian issues to explore for oil and gas at the expense of wildlife, surrounding communities and water safety.

This is threatening the movement of wild animals and has heightened the disappearance of numerous elephants through uncontrolled human activities.

Activities in the Okavango basin also contributed to the death of a large number of elephants in Botswana under mysterious circumstances, between 2019 and 2020.

It is not only the disappearance of wildlife, due to oil and gas explorations that is threatening biodiversity but also forests which are home to hardwood trees are facing a major onslaught in Mozambique from our all-weather friends from the east.

Besides, there is a war currently taking place in Mozambique’s Cabo-Delgado province because of these oil and gas issues.

In this regard, international forest conventions and treaties designed to safeguard biodiversity are nothing but a mere smokescreen aimed at backgrounding expansionist machinations of the rich and powerful nations with their multinational conglomerate proxies, pulling the strings behind the scenes.

While poor communities are always blamed for biomass destruction, sadly they lack the voice to air their views and nothing is said about these multinational corporations destroying the natural wonders in the Okavango basin, in African forests, Amazon rainforests and elsewhere in the world.

It is business as usual hence see no offence and hear no evil, life should go on.

Finally, when the world talks about issues of humanity, do not be fooled, the poor are not included, they are not treated as human beings.

While the natural capital looks peaceful from afar, humanity is not making peace with the planet. Despite that everyone has a part to play in safeguarding biodiversity, others are denied the chance to do so, therefore, they are part of the solution on paper and not in deed.

When everything is said and done, who is fooling who?