The Earth is getting flatter. Don’t worry we are not referring to shady theories that deny the spherical shape of the Planet, but to a serious and crucial phenomenon for our future. The Earth is losing thousands of varieties and riches of living species, more precisely, biodiversity is being reduced to fewer and fewer varieties of animals and plants. A trend that unfortunately has become dramatic in recent years. This is why since 2000, the United Nations Assembly has proclaimed May 22 “World Biodiversity Day” to celebrate the adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity signed in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1992, with the aim of protecting the biological diversity of the planet.
This year’s theme is dedicated to sustainable development, summarized in the slogan “We’re part of the solution”. In practice, the solution to climate, health, food, and water supply problems lies in protecting biodiversity. And we need to hurry. According to the WWF’s LIVING PLANET REPORT 2020 – BENDING THE CURVE OF BIODIVERSITY LOSS, “Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in millions of years. The way we produce and consume food and energy, and the blatant disregard for the environment entrenched in our current economic model, has pushed the natural world to its limits.”
But what exactly is biodiversity? It is the infrastructure that sustains all life on Earth. The natural systems and biogeochemical cycles generated by biological diversity allow a stable functioning of the atmosphere, oceans, forests, various territories, and water basins. The numbers of the Living Planet Report speak for themselves: in the last fifty years, we have seen an average 68% reduction in vertebrate populations. Not only that, 25% of the 93,579 most vulnerable species are at risk of extinction. While if we analyze the total set of living species, 41% of amphibian species, 13% of bird species, 7% of bony fish species, 25% of mammal species, and 19% of reptile species risk extinction. The situation is far from rosy for plants. For example, the Ipbes Report (2019) reveals that 36% of dicots, 17% of monocots, 40% of gymnosperms, and 16% of pteridophytes are at risk.
In all this, the world of pollinating insects, such as the bee, one of the foundations for maintaining global biodiversity, deserves particular attention: in Europe, 9.2% of bee species – but also 8.6% of butterflies and 17.9% of saproxylic beetles – are threatened with regional extinction. The flight of bees over flowers and plants ensures the survival of agriculture. Every single bee visits about 7,000 flowers a day. To produce a kilogram of honey four million daily floral explorations are needed. This very activity ensures the maintenance of biodiversity and also determines a considerable economic value that is around 153 billion euros per year on a world scale.
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