May 19, 2017

International Biodiversity Day

338 reasons to celebrate

This Monday, on 22 May 2017, marks the International Day of Biological Diversity. This could be an occasion for painting a bleak picture: The current rate of global diversity loss is estimated to be a 1000 times higher than the extinction that would occur naturally.

Losing this amount of plants and animals will have lasting impacts on our ability to grow food, find fresh drinking water and adapt to a changing climate.

However, there is also reason for optimism as more people are aware of the role biodiversity plays in producing nutritious food and securing our water sources.

Solution Search, a global crowdsourcing effort led by Rare, IFOAM – Organics International and the Convention on Biological Diversity and supported by the German Environment Ministry has surfaced 338 bright ideas that connect agriculture and biodiversity protection.

But how does this connection between fields, farms and nature play out in practice?

For Jony Girma from Ethiopia, the motto is clear: “No tree, no bee…no money, no honey”. With his organization Apis Agribusiness,  he set out two of the biggest challenges his country is facing: rapid deforestation and massive migration of young people from rural areas to cities. By setting up wild honey production as a viable income option for landless youth, Apis Agribusiness is simultaneously protecting incomes, forests and the pollination services wild bees offer.

In Peru, Jorge Recharte has also chosen to “stick to their roots” – albeit in a different sense.  In the puna grasslands of Peru, the Mountain Institute is reviving ancient pre-Incan hydraulic systems to improve water availability and soil moisture. This bio-friendly technique not only helped the community with tending their fields and raising their livestock, but also made them a favorite among Peruvian and international scientists.

On June 12 – the International Day of Agriculture – contest organizers will publish the ten most promising solutions, chosen from among all 338 entries.

The ten finalists will be invited to attend a social marketing training workshop alongside the international climate conference in Bonn this year, to help them in spreading their bright ideas.

In 2018, a second project phase will build on the contest entries by hosting eight workshops across the globe.

Learn more about the Farming for Biodiversity project

View all 338 solutions.