338 Reasons to Celebrate International Biodiversity Day | #LuvOrganic

Monday, 22 May 2017, marks the International Day of Biological Diversity. This could be occasion to paint 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 becoming aware of the role biodiversity plays in producing nutritious food and securing our water sources.

A global crowdsourcing effort led by Rare, IFOAM – Organics International, 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 honey, no money”. With his organization Apis Agribusiness,  he set out to tackle two of the biggest challenges his country is facing: rapid deforestation and massive migration of young people from rural areas to cities. By establishing 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 his 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 helps the community to tend to their fields and raise livestock, but has 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 all 338 entries. The public can then vote online for their favorite solution over the summer.

Ten finalists will then be invited to attend a social marketing training workshop alongside COP 23, the international climate conference in Bonn this year, where they will learn the techniques needed to spread their ideas.  The winner of the grand prize will be announced during a high-level awards ceremony on 14 November at castle Godesburg in Bonn. Leaders from science, policy and the private sector will attend the ceremony to meet and honor our local biodiversity champions.

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

To learn more about the Farming for Biodiversity project, download the flyer here.

You can view all 338 solutions here: https://solutionsearch.org/contest/farming-biodiversity

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