Nature provides us with clean air, purified water, sources of food and medicine, and beautiful spaces for recreation. It has protected us from zoonotic (animal to human) diseases like Covid-19 throughout history. When natural habitats are destroyed, pathogens like the coronavirus are displaced from their natural hosts and enter the human population. The ongoing pandemic is reminding us that the planet’s health is linked to human health.
Human actions have pushed Earth beyond its limit and we are called to collaborate in order to focus our attention to nature in June with observances of World Environment Day, World Oceans Day and the start of the hurricane season.
Biodiversity in Grenada
Biodiversity in Grenada is threatened by overhunting, overfishing, pollution, deforestation, forest fires and the over-exploitation of biological resources. Species like the manatee and Grenada parrot are already lost, and presently eighteen (18) of our one hundred and fifty (150) species of birds are considered endangered. Over the last decade the Caribbean region has seen the negative impacts of climate change with greater frequency and intensity of hurricanes; rising sea levels; rising temperatures of seawater; and more drought conditions.
Nature supports us in every way. Our forests, which cover 20% of Grenada provide livelihood for many farmers, water supply for homes, and a place for tourism activities. We are surrounded by fertile land that gives us sustenance with spices, herbs, fruits and vegetables. The marine environment provides us with food, while coral reefs protect shorelines from waves and storms. On a global level, the oceans and forests contain the lungs of the planet through coral reefs and trees.
Ridge to Reef supports Nature-based Solutions
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. Achieving the seventeen (17) global goals set out by the United Nations requires focus on the environment which is directly linked to the specific goals of food security, income generation, and climate change mitigation.
The Global Environment Facility (GEF)/United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Ridge to Reef project supports the Government of Grenada in its efforts towards sustainable environmental management and biodiversity conservation on all landscapes and seascapes. Its integrated approach promotes nature-based responses to current challenges and builds resilience in order to enhance biodiversity and sustain ecosystems in Grenada.
How can we support biodiversity?
Rudo Udika, UNDP Coordinator indicates that it’s time to reimagine our relationship with nature and put nature at the heart of all decision-making at home, work and play. We can become conscious consumers and companies can incorporate sustainable practices in their supply chains and financing. As custodians for nature, we can produce, distribute, consume and dispose of resources in ways that use environmentally safe chemicals, produce less waste and optimise the resources themselves.
Research suggests that healthy ecosystems, rich with biological diversity sustain human existence, stimulate the economy, and enhance quality of life. We’re at an unprecedented time in global history where the planet is pleading for some tender loving care.