Biodiversity: The Foundation for Life and Human Survival


Patricia Nanteza 

This year, on May 22nd, we celebrated International Day for Biological Diversity under the theme “Be Part of the Plan.” This theme is a call to action for all of us to play our role in protecting the incredible biodiversity that our continent boasts. 

From the mountain gorillas of Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the delicious and eagerly anticipated grasshoppers to the wildebeest migrations of Kenya’s Masai Mara, Africa is a treasure trove of life. This biodiversity isn’t just beautiful, it is vital. 

Biodiversity is more than just the variety of plants and animals around us. It encompasses the variety of all life forms on Earth, including plants, animals, microorganisms, and the ecosystems they inhabit. It also includes genetic differences within species, such as the various crops and livestock breeds. Biodiversity is the foundation of life and essential for human survival. This web of life sustains us all. 

wePlanet Uganda volunteers collect trash in Kasubi, Kampala in celebration of Earth Day

 The Importance of Biodiversity 

  • Food Security: Biodiversity provides 20% of animal protein through fish to about 3 billion people. For example, fish from Lake Victoria in East Africa provide protein for millions. Over 80% of the human diet is from plants. 
  • Healthcare: Traditional plant-based medicines are the primary source of healthcare for up to 80% of people living in rural areas in developing countries including Africa. 
  • Ecological Services: Healthy ecosystems provide vital services such as pollination, water purification, and climate regulation. 

The Threat of Biodiversity Loss 

The loss of biodiversity poses significant risks, including increased vulnerability to zoonotic diseases (diseases transmitted from animals to humans). Conversely, maintaining biodiversity offers powerful tools to combat pandemics, including those caused by coronaviruses. Despite its value, human activities are rapidly reducing the number of species and degrading ecosystems. 

wePlanet Africa partnered with Kahawa Pride Football Club to plant trees during the Kenya national tree planting day

Your Role in Biodiversity Conservation 

As part of the IDB 2024 celebration, we encourage everyone to take action: 

  • Support Conservation Initiatives: Get involved with organizations dedicated to protecting wildlife and habitats.  
  • Promote Sustainable Practices: Advocate for sustainable agriculture, forestry, and fishing. 
  • Reduce Pollution: Minimize plastic use, recycle, and reduce waste. 
  • Educate Others: Raise awareness about the importance of biodiversity and the actions needed to protect it. 
  • Participate in Local Projects: Join tree-planting events, habitat restoration projects, and community clean-ups. wePlanet Kenya recently partnered with Kahawa Pride Football Club to plant trees during the Kenya national tree planting day. Trees not only form part of our biodiversity, but they provide a habitat for most of biodiversity. On April 22, wePlanet Uganda carried out a clean-up exercise in Kampala to mark Earth Day.  

Do something to protect our biodiversity, Be Part of the Plan! 

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