Monday, January 25, 2010

2010 International Year of Biodiversity

As some of you may already know 2010 is International Year of Biodiversity.
The following is the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the International Year of Biodiversity (2010):

Over the past half-century, human activities have caused an unprecedented decline in biological diversity. Species are going extinct a thousand times faster than the natural rate a loss now being further compounded by climate change. A wide variety of environmental goods and services that we take for granted are under threat, with profound and damaging consequences for ecosystems, economies and livelihoods.

In 2002, world leaders agreed to substantially reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. The 2010 Biodiversity Target was subsequently integrated into the Millennium Development Goals. It will not be met.

Tropical forests continue to be felled, destroying valuable endemic species and disrupting local, regional and global climates. Climate change and ocean acidification are destroying coral reefs. Fisheries are increasingly overexploited, condemning millions of the world’s poorest people to unemployment and malnutrition.

The failure to protect biodiversity should be a wake-up call. Business as usual is not an option. We need a new biodiversity vision. We must manage our forests sustainably so they can store carbon, protect watersheds and provide resources and income. We must conserve coral reefs so they can continue to protect coasts from storms and support livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people. We must ensure the long-term viability of our seas and oceans.

To raise awareness of the impending crisis and to spur the world to act, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity. In September 2010, the General Assembly will hold a special high-level meeting on the subject. It will give the international community an opportunity to demonstrate much-needed leadership in advance of the Nagoya Biodiversity Summit, which will adopt a new strategic plan for implementing the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.

In this International Year, we must counter the perception that people are disconnected from our natural environment. We must increase understanding of the implications of losing biodiversity. In 2010, I call on every country and each citizen of our planet to engage in a global alliance to protect life on Earth. We must generate a greater sense of urgency and establish clear and concrete targets. Biodiversity is life. Biodiversity is our life.

On a local level I have been pretty disappointed with the amount of respect our local Cassowary Coast Regional Council has shown towards the environment and the preservation of our regions biodiversity.

During a recent television interview I saw our local Mayor, Bill Shannon, talk a lot about the rights of developers to develop environmentally sensitive properties and say very little about how his council planned to protect the southern cassowary in those areas. You will find a link to the ABC television interview in the story The ABC 730 Report Examines Fragmentation and Fencing of Cassowary Habitat at Mission Beach.

The southern cassowary is a keystone species that is vital to maintaining our regions biodiversity through its seed distributing activities.

I believe that the Endangered Southern cassowary should be our regions mascot for this International Year of Biodiversity!

Few other animals contribute so directly to maintaining our forests diversity. If you would like to know more about cassowaries and biodiversity check out this earlier post.

Perhaps our Cassowary Coast Councilors should watch the following video by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

UN Secretary General Welcome Message for the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity from CBD on Vimeo.
Below are some key statements from the video that are worthy of consideration.

Our lives depend on Biological diversity.

Species and ecosystems are disappearing at an unsustainable rate.

We humans are the cause.

Before I go I want to share with you some neat new photos of Joov, a Mission Beach cassowary who has been bush for 4 months and has recently visited Liz Gallie. Liz has photographed Joov since he was a little Cyclone Larry survivor. Boy has he grown!

Of course Joov has been on the blog before in the story Joov the Fringe Dweller by Liz Gallie

That’s enough from me….here are the photos.
All levels of government, including our local Cassowary Coast Regional Council, need to realise that their current management of Endangered Southern cassowaries at places like Mission Beach is simply not working.

I will close with a final quote from UN Secretary General Mr Ban Ki-moon

“Business as usual is not an option”

Cheers Russ

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