In marking International Day for Biological Diversity on Wednesday, May 22, Senator Loren Legarda urged leaders and citizens to take greater action in protecting Philippine biodiversity—considered one of the richest in the world—amid the escalating threats posed by global warming and climate change.
Legarda, UNISDR Global Champion for Resilience and UNFCCC National Adaptation Plan Champion, said this year’s celebration, with the theme “Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health,” emphasizes the importance of protecting biodiversity as the foundation of health and food systems.
“Biodiversity enables our ecosystems to function and provides food, water, air, and other necessities essential to human health and wellbeing. However, global warming and climate change cause biodiversity loss at an alarming rate, which can further damage our ecosystems and development progress,” Legarda said.
“We should do what we can to prevent further damage to our ecosystems and biodiversity.”
Noting that climate change can be mitigated through a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the planet’s atmosphere, Legarda said nations must commit to limiting global warming below 1.5°C, as prescribed in the Paris Agreement and as urged by the Special Report on the Global Warming of 1.5°C of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Some of the report’s findings include fish yield decline of 3 million tons at 2°C of global warming compared to 1.5 million tons at 1.5°C; a 70-90% further decline in coral reefs at 1.5°C but 99% decline at 2°C; and twice the rate of vertebrate and plant species loss and thrice the rate of insect species loss at 2°C as compared to 1.5°C.
“Global warming and climate change cause biodiversity loss at an alarming rate, which can further damage our ecosystems and development progress.”
Legarda also enjoined the public to help protect biodiversity and combat climate change through simple ways, such as avoiding single-use plastics, recycling bags and containers, reducing food waste, composting food scraps, and promoting local and indigenous food and products.
“We should do what we can to prevent further damage to our ecosystems and biodiversity. Let this celebration remind us the value of biodiversity in our daily lives and to continue protecting humanity’s delicate balance with nature that has been providing for us and will hopefully provide for generations to come,” Legarda concluded.