QUESTION : . ‘Climate change’ is a global problem and India will be affected by climate change . Explain how the Himalayan and coastal states of India will be affected by climate change ?
SAVING BIODIVERSITY, SECURITY EARTH’S FUTURE
Issues Related To Biodiversity in India
WHY IN NEWS ?
On this World Environment Day (June 5), with the novel coronavirus pandemic raging across our vast country, we must reflect on the ways to rebuild our relationship with nature.
WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY :
• The United Nations Assembly established World Environment Day in 1972, which was the first day of the Stockholm Conference on the human environment.
o Theme for 2021: ‘Ecosystem Restoration’.
• It will kick off the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) – a global mission to revive billions of hectares, from forests to farmlands, from the top of mountains to the depth of the sea.
• The theme for this year’s in India is ‘promotion of biofuels for a better environment’.
o Host Nation : Pakistan will be the global host for 2021.
o Initiatives Taken by India:
• E-100 pilot project has been launched in Pune for the production and distribution of ethanol across the country.
• The government is releasing the E-20 notification that will allow oil companies to sell 20% ethanol blended petrol from 1st April, 2023, and BIS specifications for ethanol blends E12 and E15.
INDIA’S BIODIVERSITY :
• India is home to nearly 8% of global biodiversity on just 2.3% of global land area. It contains sections of four of the 36 global biodiversity hotspots.
• The varied ecosystems across land, rivers, and oceans, feed our people, enhance public health security, and shield us from environmental disasters.
• Ecological value: Estimates suggest our forests alone may yield services worth more than a trillion rupees per year. This will more with grasslands, wetlands, freshwater, and marine added.
o Our biodiversity also serves as a perpetual source of spiritual enrichment, intimately linked to our physical and mental well-being.
• Biodiversity loss: India is facing one of the worst public health crises but also worldwide declines in biodiversity.
o Globally, we have lost 7% intact forests since 2000, and recent assessments indicate that over a million species might be lost forever during the next several decades.
• Climate change and infectious diseases: Climate change and the ongoing pandemic will put additional stresses on our natural ecosystems.
o Mitigating climate change can curtail future outbreaks of infectious diseases that can bring unimaginable misery.
• The dysfunctional relationship between humanity and nature: The emergence of infectious diseases exposed the lack of food and nutritional security; rural unemployment; and climate change.
• Deforestation : It has been estimated that around half of the world’s mature forests have been cleared by humans. Forests are an essential part of the global ecosystem and the biosphere. They help to regulate climate, protect soils from erosion and provide habitat to vast number of plants and animal species.
• Land Degradation : It is a problem in virtually every terrestrial ecosystem that is reducing the welfare of more than three billion people. A recent assessment has found that only a quarter of land on earth is substantively free of the impacts of human activities and this is projected to decline to just one-tenth by 2050.
• Overpopulation : It is one of the crucial current environment problems. Population explosion in less developed and developing countries is draining the already scarce resources. Recent analysis have revealed that even if the destruction of natural resources ends now, it would take 5-7 mn years for the natural world to recover.
• Light Pollution : The inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light, known as light pollution has serious environmental consequences for humans and wildlife. It washes the star light in the night sky, interferes with astronomical research, disrupts ecosystem, has adverse health effects and wastes energy.
INITIATIVES BY THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA :
• National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Well-Being (NMBHWB): In 2018, the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) in consultation with the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change and other Ministries approved an ambitious National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Well-Being (NMBHWB).
• Objectives: The Mission will
o strengthen the science of restoring, conserving, and sustainably utilising India’s natural heritage;
o embed biodiversity as a key consideration in all developmental programmes, particularly in agriculture, ecosystem services, health, bio-economy, and climate change mitigation;
o establish a citizen and policy-oriented biodiversity information system; and
o enhance capacity across all sectors for the realisation of India’s national biodiversity targets and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
o allow India) to emerge as a leader in demonstrating linkage between conservation of natural assets and societal well-being.
• CBD and SDG fulfillments: The Mission will help India meet its commitments under the new framework for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and UN SDGs related to pressing social issues including poverty alleviation, justice and equity, and protection of life.
• Nature-based solutions to numerous environmental challenges, including degradation of rivers, forests, and soils, and ongoing threats from climate change, with the goal of creating climate-resilient communities.
• Increase biodiversity: The Mission’s comprehensive efforts will empower India to restore, and even increase, our natural assets by millions of crores of rupees.
• Climate change mitigation: Mitigation programmes will lessen the impacts of climate change and other natural disasters, such as pandemics and floods.
• Generating rural income: We can rejuvenate agricultural production systems and increase rural incomes from biodiversity-based agriculture while also creating millions of green jobs in restoration and nature tourism.
• Land restoration: Restoration activities across India’s degraded lands, which amount to almost a third of our land area, alone could generate several million jobs.
WAY FORWARD :
• Dedicated cadre: We need a strong and extensive cadre of human resources required to meet the enormous and complex environmental challenges of the 21st century.
• Training: This will require training professionals of the highest calibre in sustainability and biodiversity science, along with an investment in civil society outreach.
• Public engagement: The gains of environmental change will be upheld and carried forward by the cultural change from environmental education for millions of students, from kindergarten to postgraduate levels.
• Scientific inputs, especially related to geospatial informatics and policy, can guide the development of strategies for conservation and ecosystem management.
Nothing could be more important than to renew our pledge to nurture all life on earth. As it is said that “nature nurture us and we should nurture the nature.”