The air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink rely on biodiversity, the foundation of healthy ecosystems. There is an intimate bond linking biological diversity, food and planetary health. The meal on our plate depends on fresh water availability and healthy soils that supply essential nutrients to plants, which in turn make up 80% of the food we eat and produce 98% of the oxygen we breathe. Without plants there would be no beneficial soil organisms that reduce the risk of pests. All these pieces interact in a fine equilibrium called an ecosystem, shaped by millions of years of evolution.
Now more than ever, while the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, it is evident that we are still completely dependent on our natural ecosystems, despite all our technological advances. This means that, to thrive in the future and to recover from the impacts of COVID-19 in the short-term, we need to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and its many linkages to societal needs, including the food we eat. And yet, our precious biodiversity is in decline, with 1 million animal and plant species threatened with extinction, more than ever before in human history.
The slogan of this year's International Day for Biological Diversity, "Our solutions are in nature," stresses the importance of working together at all levels to build a healthy and sustainable future, in harmony with nature.