Amid unrest, priority must be given to saving environment

On this International Day for Biological Diversity, we have a unique opportunity to make biodiversity and nature a priority for all. Together we can galvanize, actions and awareness on political impetus for nature, people and the planet.

ByNaorem Munal Meitei

Updated 22 May 2023, 5:10 am

(Photo: IFP)
(Photo: IFP)


Manipur today is in great turmoil following the recent events of ethnic violence that occurred at several places in the state and destroyed lives and properties since May 3. People in the state hope for an amicable solution that can bring normalcy and peace at the earliest. However, whatever be the situation, our environment should not be ignored at any cost. Our environment should be the topmost priority and it should be included in our national security.

The biodiversity richness of Manipur includes about 4,000 angiosperms, 1200 medicinal plants, 34 species of edible fungi, about 500 orchids, 56 species of bamboo, 695 birds, 160 fish species, 21 migratory aquatic birds and multitude of butterflies, insects etc.

Manipur has two globally recognized biodiversity hotspots and an eco-region known for its high species diversity and endemism. There are 145 medicinal plants that the healers use for treating 59 ailments. But the region is suffering from acute environmental degradation, threatening to the permanent loss of its rich biodiversity.

On this International Day for Biological Diversity 2023, which is observed on May 22 across the world to understand and conserve biodiversity, the theme, “From Agreement to Action: Build Back Biodiversity” calls to convert the agreements into action and its implementation.

With this celebration, we have a unique opportunity to make biodiversity and nature a priority for all. Together we can galvanize, actions and awareness on political impetus for nature, people and the planet.

Biodiversity is the variety of living beings, the plants, animals and microorganisms, including genetic differences within each species and various ecosystem services like forests, hills, rivers, lakes, deserts and landscapes that host the multiple interactions.


Biodiversity being the future foundation, it is the answer for all our environmental issues. Our global technologies are so advanced but if we go deeper, we are still completely dependent on a healthy and vibrant ecosystem for our survival.

Biodiversity is like a large tank from which we can draw food, medicines and even the livelihood. Biodiversity is an “assurance” for life on our planet and therefore must be protected at all costs. It is also a universal heritage that offer immediate advantages for everyone.

Biodiversity is also the living fabric of our planet. It underpins human wellbeing in the present and the future, and its rapid decline threatens nature and people alike.

Biodiversity loss jeopardizes nature’s vital contributions to humanity, endangering economies, livelihoods, food security, cultural diversity and quality of life and constitutes a major threat to global peace and security.

Biological diversity resources are the pillars upon which, civilizations are built. Biodiversity provides building blocks for sustainable livelihood. But while there is a growing recognition that biological diversity is a global asset of tremendous value, the number of species is being significantly reduced by various human activities.

In spite of the importance given to biodiversity conservation, genetic erosion continues globally. Twelve per cent of birds, 21 per cent of mammals, 30 per cent of amphibians, 27 per cent of coral reefs and 35 per cent of conifers and cycads face extinction.

According to the World Conservation Union (IUCN), over 47,677 species may soon disappear from the planet earth. While taking much care of the animals, the plant species are almost about to extinct.


Biodiversity is a common good, an invaluable legacy formed over the course of billions of years and capital to transmit to future generations. To support 790 crores global population, the mother earth is over exhausted. The rate of biodiversity lost from the earth is about three species per hour and about 150 species per day. A species once lost is lost forever and it affects other remaining species.

Forests are the integral part of global sustainable development.The loss of forest is about the size of a football ground per minute with about 15 billion trees per year. But a fully grown tree can produce oxygen for 10 persons in a year. Forest and forest soil contain 80 per cent of COi.e. twice the amount found in the atmosphere and deforestation emit about 1.7 billion metric tons of carbon per year into the atmosphere. Hence, the conservation of forests offers important opportunities to protect biodiversity and to mitigate the climate change.

Biodiversity is the measure of the health of the ecosystem. It therefore underpins peoples livelihoods and sustainable development, including economic sectors such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism, among others. By halting biodiversity loss, we are investing in people, their future, lives and well-being. Biodiversity conservation and human development should go hand-in-hand. Once there was only a choice between development and conservation but now we cannot separate these two entities any longer.

Biodiversity loss is predominantly related to habitat destruction. To reverse the paradigm and enlist development as an effective instrument for conserving biodiversity, the big question is for reinforcing.

Climate change is a major driver of biodiversity erosion. Changes in the temperature, precipitation, ocean acidification, sea level rise and extreme events, adversely impact to biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Therefore, for the sake of Manipur's environment, mother earth and the future generation, let us save our biodiversity today because tomorrow may be too late.

(The views expressed are the writer's own)


First published:22 May 2023, 5:10 am


manipur environmentInternational Day for Biological Diversity 2023manipur biodiversity

Naorem Munal Meitei

Naorem Munal Meitei

Environmentalist. May reach the author at nmunall@yahoo.in


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