Friday, May 4, 2012

Blogging for Conserving Biological Diversity: Connecting People to Nature

Blogging on a subject like biodiversity, I have learnt my lessons. There are experts, volunteers, wildlife enthusiasts, they all have their own levels of passion and involvement. Their knowledge and expertise are valuable to conserve biodiversity. But, is it possible to achieve the objective unless we involve the general public or the masses?

Conservation of biological diversity, in true sense, can be achieved only after reaching a certain level of understanding of its importance in the mind of the general population. The knowledge acquired by experts through research, expeditions, surveys, etc. remains confined to domains of personal expertise and in the annals of scientific literature, so useful for formulating guidelines, policies, projects for further research, etc.

The real benefit of scientific research emerges when the common citizens get informed and educated about the importance of the subject. Though the common citizens are some what involved in the subject, due to the reasons of our mutual interdependence, but the masses are not aware of the connections that exist in the variety of foods (be it plant or animal driven), the climate, the flora and fauna, the geography. They are sometime unaware of the finer links that lead to food productivity in a region. For example, killing some insects which carry out pollination can lead to low productivity of  crops, fruits or honey.,

What does the loss of a species, a bird, an insect or a fish in the oceans, means. The populations of a species can fluctuate round a year but should not reach levels where extinctions become imminent. The common masses have to be sensitized about the importance of biological diversity, though they may not better appreciate their scientific and economic importance, but may be facinated by outwardly appearance and awesome beauty, adaptation, shape, size or forms.

The first lesson to conserve biological diversity is the  necessity to understand the importance of  mutual existence and respect for all life. Does the sight of a snake or a scorpion frighten you and your reaction is to kill. Or, you stand and watch its colour, size, and are excited to identify the species, whether it is poisonous or non-poisonous, what is its habitat, are there more of it nearby! And ultimately let it go unharmed!

There were some labourers' huts nearby, they never killed scorpions though they were there in plenty, in their surroundings.They will simply pick them and leave at some distance in the forest.  I never heard their children playing in the soil having been stung by the arachnid. Their belief is that if they kill snakes and scorpions they will be stung more often, otherwise not. What a mutual and respectful coexistence. True they still reconcile to mutual survival.

                                                                                                                                   Photo by: Zaka Imam
                Children playing unmindful of scorpions in the surrounding area.

Shortly I will give this blog a new flavour keeping in mind the interests of  the common people as well as the experts, if they wish to share their work. We will soon have posts on gardening, trekking, bird watching, bee-keeping, sericulture, backyard pharmacy, etc. Such subjects I believe will connect people to the subject and allow them appreciate the importance of biological diversity and need to conserve it.

Our backyard garden is, in fact, the first classroom for understanding form and variety of the living forms around and help in understanding concepts in the study of biological diversity. Just count how many types of lives are existing in our backyard garden, and in our homes: lizards, cockroaches, ants, crickets, centipedes, mosquitoes, bed bugs, lice, snakes, birds, etc. Can you identify or find their common names, and more particularly, their scientific names, species, and the family? Try it. And you will love them all.

Biological diversity provides a huge scientific resource, a bank of unlimited number of genes coding for unlimited number of substances, many being potential drugs, future resource for new foods, materials of unexplored attributes, etc.

Writing this post I am reminded of two masters who touched my heart and sole, Charles Darwin, who proposed the theory of evolution and Libbie Henrietta Hyman the great American zoologist, who produced creditable work on invertebrates. Such wonderful people remind you, and touch your heart. Because they worked with real passion, tirelessly. And such unparallell work makes scientific pursuits respectable, and motivates generations of researchers and scholars.

Over a period of time this blog will be changing drastically bringing more valuable information to readers: projecting biodiversity of life in its true relationship with man! Establishing and highlighting all connections that man is surrounded with but does not fully appreciate.

This blog, I hope, will find its place it aims to achieve: conservation of biological diversity by connecting to people, no matter how little in measure!

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