A number of environmental problems are continuing as a major part of our concern. Habitat destruction and fragmentation, biodiversity loss, stratospheric ozone depletion, global climate change, herbicides, pesticides, pollution of surface- and ground-water, acid deposition, oil spills, and thermal pollution are direct environmental problems. Human population growth, unsustainable consumerism, urbanization, international conflicts, and inequities in the distribution of wealth are indirect environmental problems. All such problems are presently being viewed in a totality, to ameliorate the said problems, and to ensure the future of life on earth. Expansion of chemical industries, during and after World War II, has aggravated such problems. “Silent Spring” written by Rachel Carson awakened about pollution threats to living species. Environmentalism has become accepted in the public Agenda since the first National Earth Day in 1970. The 1970s were the decade of environment.Between the 1980s and 1990s, environmental issues were pushed into the political background, and now coming to the forefront as human abuse of the earth is continuing. Emphasis on preventive measures rather than curative measures on environmental problems is believed to contribute a lot.
Diversity in living forms occurs due to changes in their genetic make up, inheritance of changes, and operation of natural selection. Interaction between environment, genetic variation, and natural selection leads to evolution. Origin of new species is the result of evolution. Existing biodiversity is the result of evolution, and extinction. Evolution and extinction are make, and breake system in nature. Diversity of species and the complex interrelationships that sustain them are encompassed by the term biodiversity. The term “Biological Diversity” was coined by Thomas Lovejoy in the year 1980. E. O. Wilson applied the term “Biodiversity” in 1986. The 1992 United Nations Earth Summit held at Rio de Janeiro defined biodiversity as “the variability among living organisms from all sources, including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part: this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems”.
Brown, an administrator of UNDP has recently argued that biodiversity is far from being optional or a luxury; rather a key development issue that frequently provides the welfare system for poor people and communities. Most of the world’s biodiversity exist in the economically poorest countries, which offer opportunities to the poor to enhance their income by exploiting the biodiversity resource. According to Brown, our future programmme should focus on “biodiversity for development”, not biodiversity or development. Continue Reading