World Environment Day

It’s time for us to celebrate the Earth, once again. But this time, we are not talking about Earth Day. It’s time for us to celebrate World Environment Day! World Environment Day is similar to Earth Day because it also is a day for us to reflect and celebrate the Earth, but World Environment Day also differs in the fact that it focuses on one particular aspect of the world. This year, the theme is Time for Nature, highlighting the importance of biodiversity at a time like this. For many of us, we no longer are leaving our homes as frequently as we used to. As a result, we have started to see a return in some of our diverse species, as well as a drop in air pollution. This global pandemic has revealed to us some things about our relationship with nature.

COVID-19 has shown us a crucial revelation in our relationship with wildlife. COVID-19 is a zoonotic virus. A zoonotic virus is a virus that is transmitted from animals to humans, and COVID-19 is not the first. Ebola, SARS, the Zika virus, and bird flu, are all zoonotic species that we have had to learn to deal with in the past. We are facing these zoonotic viruses in large part because of our deliberate expansion of development in the wilderness, as well as our exploitative efforts in profiting and marginalizing vulnerable species. Through this, we’re increasing our contact with nature, and with that, a chance to have zoonotic diseases transmitted. It is important to protect biodiversity, but we need to do so in a more strategic way.

World Environment Day 2020

This year, Colombia is hosting World Environment Day. Colombia is one of the world’s most biodiverse countries, hosting close to 10 percent of the planet’s biodiversity. Containing over 300 different ecosystems and 56,000 species, qualifying it as a megadiverse country. Biodiversity is a

term we use to describe the variety of life we have here on Earth. When you dive into any ecosystem, biodiversity is what creates a highly intricate web woven to give the ecosystem structure and order. By reducing an ecosystem’s biodiversity, we are threatening the foundation of the ecosystem, causing it to slowly disestablish. This can lead to highly complex and troublesome issues such as the migration of invasive species, endangered species, and of course, higher risk of zoonotic virus transmission.

Some of the main threats to biodiversity include:

  • Land Use
  • Overfishing
  • Industrial Pollution
  • Garbage Accumulation
  • Oil Spills

This year, World Environment Day looks a little bit different. We aren’t as easily able to go outside and make a difference, but there are plenty of things that we can do even around our own homes. This World Environment Day, and to help protect biodiversity, try:

  • Purchase meat products of animals fed grass or organic feed items.
  • Use energy conserving light bulbs
  • Recycle all plastic and glass products, as well as paper and cardboard products.
  • Consider purchasing a vehicle that uses less fuel or that functions electrically.
  • Garden and get rid of outdoor pests, using natural soil and composting efforts.
  • Use batteries that are rechargeable.
  • Plant a variety of flowers in gardens and yards outside the home.
  • Schedule and run multiple errands at one time each week.

 

By: Ross Bryant

Ross is an Environmental Studies and Public Relations Dual Major at Berry College. Ross is a Bonner Scholar at Berry College, and also volunteers for Keep Rome Floyd Beautiful up in Rome, Georgia. Ross recycles cardboard and plastic in order to help be actively sustainable, as well as reuse shopping bags. For the Summer of 2020, follow Ross in his studies in order to become more conscious of sustainable practices.

© 2021 by Keep Smyrna Beautiful.