World Environment Day: HOMEF calls for protection of biodiversity

From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt

As the world marks the 2020 World Environment Day (WED), Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) has called for urgent and collective effort to protect and preserve biodiversity.

Director of The ecological think tank, Rev Nnimmo Bassey, who explained the importance of biodiversity, the threats to it and how it must be preserved, noted the need for collective efforts to protect biodiversity which in turn can reinstate healthy environment.

To achieve this, the organization called on the government to enact laws that will protect the endangered species, nothing that one of the effects of biodiversity loss is the emergence of coronavirus threatening man existence.

He said: “Million species of plants and animals are at the brink of extinction mainly due to human activities. Deforestation, overhunting/overfishing, oil pollution, genetic modification of crops/excessive use of toxic chemicals are some of our activities which threaten biodiversity. The erosion of biodiversity will have serious implication on food production and ecosystems resilience.

“Consequences of biodiversity loss also include the emergence and spread of diseases such as COVID-19 amongst humans”.

Also, HOMEF’s Project Officer, Mfoniso Antia stated: “Biodiversity is life. It is the hanger that sustains human existence. It helps maintain the balance of ecosystems and keeps them functioning and self-sustaining. A continued destruction of biodiversity will mean a distortion of the balance of life.”

“Food production systems depend on the diversity of organisms including the plants, plant eaters, carnivores, decomposers (microorganisms) and the pollinators all of whose activities are interconnected. Biodiversity is linked to the resilience of ecosystems. In Agriculture, it ensures resilience to the impacts of climate change” stated Joyce Ebebeinwe

One of HOMEF’s volunteers, Benita Siloko pointed out: “the functioning of ecosystems and the services they provide depend on biodiversity and environmental condition. Given that human activities are causing loss of biodiversity and changing environmental conditions, it is necessary that these consequences are better understood to enable societal responses and actions.”

However, to preserve biodiversity, the team of young environmentalists and ecological defenders under the auspices of HOMEF call on governments, private sector and the general public to collectively make efforts to preserve biodiversity.

Outlining ways to protect biodiversity, the group stated “We must shift from the mindset of competition that entrenches the harms done to the environment while in pursuit economic growth. We need to work in harmony with nature instead of against it.

“We should leave what is in the wild in the wild and desist from over consumption. We should stop pollution and learn to live sustainably with respect for natural laws and cycles.

“Our government needs to make and implement laws to protect endangered species. We should focus on eco friendly approaches to global challenges including those of food and climate change. It is time to respect the integrity of our biodiversity and thus ward off intrusion of viruses such as the new coronavirus. A healthy biodiversity supports a healthy population.”

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