LET’S WORK TOGETHER WITH NATURE TO FIGHT THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
The United Nations proclaimed the 22nd of May each year to be celebrated as the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) around the World. The celebration is meant to increase awareness globally and enhance man’s appreciation and dependence on nature, and nature’s resources.
The theme for the celebration this year is “Our Solutions are in Nature”.
Biological diversity constitutes the building pillars for nations’ development and civilization. It is estimated that about 3 billion people across the world obtain about 20% of their protein needs from fish sources while plants provide not less than 80% of the human diet. In many developing countries, close to 80 percent of people living in rural areas rely on plant-based medicines for basic health care and treatment.
Unfortunately, 25% of all animals and plant species around the world are threatened with extinction, a very worrying situation that calls for immediate attention and policy direction.
The theme; “Our Solutions are in Nature” could not have come at a better time than now. The increase in natural disasters, such as flooding, desertification, landslides, earthquakes, siltation among others are clear examples of the breakdown in man’s appreciation of biodiversity. The theme, therefore, calls on us to preserve our national biodiversity resources, such as wetlands, water bodies, forests, coastal areas, and national parks as therein lies the solutions to the myriad environmental, social, and economic challenges facing us as a nation and people.
In Ghana, poor farming methods and techniques leading to deforestation and soil erosion, bush fires, uncontrolled hunting and fishing activities, illegal logging and mining, unplanned urban infrastructure development, slum up-surging, as well as the exploitation of wild species have led to the rapid depletion and destruction of our natural resources including our flora and fauna thereby exposing us to all forms of natural disasters and serious health, social and economic challenges.
The onset of the global pandemic, COVID-19 should remind us of the importance of our environment and biodiversity, as many Ghanaians realise the relevance and the potency of our plants and herbs. Let us, therefore, re-examine our behaviours and actions towards our natural resources and come to the realization that technological advancements without the corresponding respect to preserve, protect and promote biodiversity, cannot address our survival needs comprehensively. Remember every Ghanaian dependents on nature for good health, water, food, medicines, clothes, shelter, energy, and livelihood.
For this reason, the MESTI is in the process of finalizing a National Biodiversity Policy, which would guide us to ensure the conservation and sustainable utilization of biodiversity as a national heritage to benefit the present and generations to come. Let us be reminded, also, that our actions and inactions towards our natural resources and environment today, may amount to digging our own graves ahead.
It, therefore, behooves us to take the requisite steps and change our attitudes and behaviours to preserve, protect and promote our natural resources for the benefit of life today and the future generation for indeed, “Our Solutions are in Nature”.
PROF. KWABENA FRIMPONG-BOATENG
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