This June 5, the entire world is celebrating World Environment Day for the forty-eighth time, with the motto "Nature's Hour.”
The date is dedicated to Biodiversity, due to the great concern that it represents. The purpose is to call the leaders of all regions to put the care of nature at the center of the "post-COVID-19" recovery plans.
Human activities have been altering the planet for decades and have caused an unprecedented loss of biodiversity. Glaciers melt rapidly, large tracts of forest are lost each year, and coral reefs have been cut in half.
Recent events such as the large-scale forest fires in Brazil, California and Australia and the current pandemic that is shaking everything right now, show us that Nature is sending a message, an alert. If we insist on disrespecting its laws, it could have serious consequences for humanity.
There are currently approximately eight million species on Earth, each living in a unique ecosystem. Each member of this biodiversity plays a fundamental role in the natural balance and without that harmony health is compromised because clean water, clean air and food depend on it.
According to the United Nations, 2020 "is a year of reflection, opportunity and solutions." A note published on its website asserts that it is the time when, more than ever, "we must express our will to flatten and reduce the curve of biodiversity loss for the benefit of humans and all life on the planet." It also recommends using this period, in order to increase the resilience of nations and communities, as we recover from this crisis.
Some experts believe that the global health crisis of COVID-19 has revealed that the well-being and security of our society are closely linked to the health of ecosystems. More than a few believe that the devastation of wild areas has increased human exposure to pathogens that remained isolated, which in turn increases the risk of epidemics.
Cuba, despite government policies and being a pioneer in the protection and conservation of biodiversity and in the introduction of an approach to ecosystem management, does not escape the problem. Climate change is unstoppable and we must adapt to new conditions and mitigate as best as possible its effects on economic and social development.
Among the impacts of the climatic, hydrological and marine scenarios on the ecosystems of the region, the island's scientists foresee the decrease and extinction of terrestrial and marine species, the increase of invasive species, reduction and disappearance of wetlands, physiological changes in species plants and northward migration of coastal tree vegetation, especially mangroves.
Doctor in Sciences Eduardo Planos Gutiérrez, researcher at the Meteorological Institute and president of the National Climate Change Program, said a few months ago at a conference that “adaptation cannot be the effort to maintain at all costs the way of life and production of the present or to preserve what will inevitably be lost. It is about maintaining, with the support of science and technique, what is physically and economically possible; and to build, from the present, a model appropriate to the climatic conditions of the future.”
That is why every June 5 people are invited again and again, to be more responsible in the way they consume, teachers to instill a love of nature, companies to develop more ecological models, governments to protect habitat and young people to speak out for the future of the planet.