22nd May is celebrated as International Day for Biological Diversity.
Biodiversity – biological diversity, has become a very common word in today’s time – little due to awareness and little due to the need to study as a part of curriculum in schools & in colleges. In both the cases, the end result is that at least basic awareness about biodiversity is seen amongst masses.
It may appear simple – as it does – but its depth and spread is not as simple as it appears. In simple words the word Biodiversity is made up from two words – bio and diversity – which simply means biological diversity. The diversity that we can see in each form of life around us makes up the biodiversity. Biodiversity can be seen at three different levels, viz., genetic, species and ecosystem levels.
Genetic biodiversity means the variation that is seen in genes within a species. For example, different varieties of rice are due to the variation in genes in each variety. Each variety has some specific character due to specific gene present in that variety.
Species biodiversity means the variety of different species that are seen in nature.
Ecosystem biodiversity means the diversity of ecosystems like desert ecosystem, aquatic ecosystem, mangrove ecosystem etc.
There are certain species which are specific to any given area or region. Such species are called as endemic species. It means that the species which are endemic are only found in that particular region. Hence it becomes necessary to protect such species where they are naturally found. This requires study and identification of such species if one has to achieve the goal of protecting or conserving them.
Creating and spreading awareness about any subject is the first step towards its conservation. Many of us are now aware about biodiversity. Next step is action-oriented activities at individual as well as society level. We need to conserve biodiversity for our own selves. Let us all work individually and contribute to conservation at a much wider level. Every individual’s action, however small it is, can contribute significantly towards conservation. This can be easily achieved by reducing our needs by asking ourselves whether we really need what we are using or buying. One needs to differentiate between luxury and needs. Fortunately or unfortunately, COVID – 19 has taught us to become introvert and judge our own needs.