Experts: Time to Wake Up to the Call of Biodiversity
CHENNAI: With rainforests being destroyed for the expansion of fast food outlets and India’s vast cultural biodiversity being run over by urbanisation, the Indian Biodiversity Congress (IBC) 2014 saw scientists, academicians and activists from all over India coming together to discuss various themes.
Over 750 delegates presented papers on climate change, food security, taxonomy and cultural and linguistic linkages of biodiversity. The focus of the conference this year was biodiversity for poverty alleviation.
The three-day conference, which started on December 18, was organised by the Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Actions, Thiruvananthapuram and CPR Environmental Education Centre, Chennai, along with School of Public Health, SRM University, Chennai and Navdanya, New Delhi.
Biodiversity as the need of the hour is recognised by all, and as chief project director of Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Conservation and Greening Project R K Ojha put it: it is no longer for compulsion but is now a compulsion. “With India harbouring nearly seven per cent of the recorded species of the world, representing four of the 34 globally identified biodiversity hotspots, it is a vast repository of traditional biological knowledge resource,” said K Rosaiah, Governor of Tamil Nadu, who inaugurated the conference. “Nearly 200 million people are dependent on forests for their livelihood, and the joint forest management should aim at regenerating forests through involvement of local communities.”
“We are dredging the top soil and it takes 500 years to create one inch of new top soil,” said Nandita Krishna, director of CPR Environmental Education Centre, lamenting on how acres of land are being used for cattle to be raised for slaughter. “Animal farming should instead be used to alleviate hunger,” she said. The objective of IBC is to formulate a vision and alternate strategic plan for the conservation of biodiversity in the context of the prevailing concept of ‘development at any cost’.