Organisations Prepare to Celebrate International Biodiversity Day

IYB 2010 Logo Organisations around the UK are preparing to celebrate International Biodiversity Day, taking place tomorrow, 22 May. Celebrations began in Wales yesterday, with the start of a three day festival to highlight biodiversity to the public and to encourage individuals to ‘do one thing’ for nature. The BES and Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (IEEM) joined a range of organisations at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, for the launch of the event, exhibiting materials to museum visitors.

Jane Davidson, Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing at the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG), delivered a speech to exhibitors and invited guests, in which she highlighted the Government’s track record in conserving biodiversity and ecosystem services in Wales. However, the Minister made it clear that the ecological community couldn’t underestimate the challenge of keeping in place some of the structures set up for species monitoring and conservation, given the difficult economic climate. However, the Minister assured the audience that she would do all she could to ensure that the importance of biodiversity is recognised across the WAG.

Both the Minister, and Rhys Jones, a BBC wildlife television presenter who gave a brief address after Jane Davidson’s speech, emphasised the importance of communicating the importance of biodiversity to the public at large. Rhys Jones said that ‘people look at biodiversity through giant binoculars’, understanding biodiversity as something that is ‘elsewhere’; on African plains or tropical rainforests. People do not appreciate the diversity of life around them; in their own back gardens for example. Jane Davidson emphasised the need to ‘keep the vision positive’, highlighting the challenges faced by biodiversity but in such a way as to engage, not alienate people, with the scale of the problem.

The BES and IEEM took the opportunity to launch a copy of our position statement on ‘halting UK biodiversity loss’, in Welsh. You can download a copy from our website.

International Biodiversity Day

Tomorrow, a range of activities will take place around the UK and around the globe, highlighting and raising awareness of the importance of biodiversity to our lives. The Natural History Museum, London, is organising a full day of events, including theatre and art performances and the production of a biodiversity day themed elephant for the ‘Elephant Parade’. The Guardian has today published its top ten picks of events from around the world. To find out more about events near you in the UK, access the International Year of Biodiversity UK network website.