Hello Everyone: I am Biodiversity! the living fabric of our planet. I am the value of what comes to you from Nature. Most of the time people take me for granted and don’t value me. I exist at different levels such as ecosystems, species and genes. I provide services to you humans free of charge. Did you ever stop to think of where the water that you drink and use for cooking, bathing, washing your cars and doing all your household activities comes from, this is provided to you by me, the Forest. When you continue to destroy forest for agriculture and illegal marijuana production and continue to poison me with strange gases from burning tires and plastics, you are directly reducing the quantity and quality of water that I can supply.
I am Biodiversity! I am the simple honey bee. I am responsible for pollinating your agriculture crops. I am worth billions of dollars globally and millions locally. I also produce honey, beeswax, pollen and royal jelly so you can farm me and make some money.
I am Biodiversity! I am the humble molecule that was prospected from a special tree in the forest reserve by a giant pharmaceutical company. The local people have knowledge of me, and have used me as a cure for centuries. I have special healing properties that can cure cancer.
I am Biodiversity! I am the mangrove that was destroyed for your ungainly purpose. I use to protect you from storm surges and wave action, provide you with fuel wood and act as a fish nursery; you are vulnerable now that I am gone.
I am biodiversity! I am all the fish species native to your country like the yellow fin tuna, red snapper, jackfish, Warsaw grouper, dolphins, barracudas, parrot and spear fish, that were depleted from overfishing by commercial foreign companies and killed by your ocean of plastic debris. I am waiting to rebound again once you manage the oceans properly.
I am Biodiversity! I am the endemic Amazona Guildingi, the St. Vincent parrot. I live in the forest reserves of St. Vincent. I am responsible for maintaining a healthy forest by dropping seeds as I move from one area to the next. I feel threatened because my habitat, the forest, it is being cut down at a rapid rate by your illegal activity. Please try to help me secure my habitat for the future of my generation and yours.
I am Biodiversity! I am the endemic St. Vincent iguana, Iguana Iguana. I live in the trees and thick vegetation of your lush tropical country, I am food for the hungry but don’t hunt me in the close season because that’s when I am reproducing. I help to maintain a healthy ecosystem by spreading seeds when I move from tree to tree.
I am Biodiversity! I am the leatherback turtle Dermochelys coriacea, I weigh over 1000 pounds when I am fully mature and I roam the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. My population is dwindling and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed me as critically endangered, meaning that I have lost greater than or equal to 80 per cent of my population. I come back every 30 years to lay my eggs on the beach where I was born between the months of April to September. Every time I try to do this, you humans are always waiting to kill me and remove my eggs, you are the biggest threat to me and my offspring, I am worth more to you alive than dead, sadly, you cannot see this and your future generations may no longer see me.
I am Biodiversity! I am the Staghorn and Elkhorn corals, I am dying from ocean acidification, because you continue to dump garbage into the sea, you continue to use chemical fertilisers unwisely, and you continue to emit high levels of Carbon Dioxide and other harmful gases into the atmosphere, a result of the many old vehicles you allow into my country. You also continue to burn tires and plastics irrationally. If you want to see me again, you have to stop these destructive activities.
I am Biodiversity! I am all the local varieties of bananas, Old Lady, grindi, maughfaughbaugh (pronouved ma-fou-bay), silk fig and plantains that will provide food for you when Black Sigatoka and Panama Disease Tropical Race 4 destroys your more popular Cavendish Varieties.
I am biodiversity! I encompass all living fauna and flora found on this planet and in your case, I am St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I am your natural capital, your development asset; you need to invest in me because you cannot have a proper model of development if you allow the destruction and degradation of me, your ecological infrastructure. I may not worth a very big percentage of GDP about 8 per cent in some countries but if you check how much I am worth to the poor, the answer could be like 75 per cent or 90 per cent. I am pleading with you therefore to stop taking me for granted and value me because I am your most important asset. Thanking you.
(Author: Rafique Bailey, Ph.D. Entomology)
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