By Ed Vilade
Member, Earth Day Planning Committee
Protecting Diverse Species is the theme of Riderwood’s Earth Day Celebration, set for Wednesday, April 24, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. It is an issue that is critically important to health, food, and security throughout the entire world, according to the recent World Wildlife Fund Climate Report.
“We tend to think of protecting species diversity as a noble effort, but one that is remote from our everyday lives,” said Riderwood Earth Day Chair Mary Chor. “But it is more than saving the Himalayan Snow Leopard or an endangered snail in a pond in Alabama. Biodiversity sustains our quality of life in a very real, everyday sense and to the extent that we lose animal or plant species, we will be materially poorer in the future.”
One focus of Riderwood’s Earth Day activities will be the recent World Wildlife Fund Living Planet Report (which can be found online at http://wwf.panda.org). The Report details a startling decline in planetary biodiversity, which threatens the stability of our modern society.
“All economic activity ultimately depends on services provided by nature, estimated to be worth around US$125 trillion a year,” notes the Report. The more we deplete natural resources and threaten plant and animal species, the harder it will be to continue to maintain the contribution of nature’s bounty at that level. The Report finds that only one-quarter of the Earth is now free from the impact of human activities, and that is expected to shrink to one-tenth by 2050.
“…[I]t’s clear that nature is not just a ‘nice to have,’” concludes the Report. “Business and the finance industry are starting to question how global environmental risks will affect the macroeconomic performance of countries, sectors and financial markets, and policy-makers wonder how we will meet climate and sustainable development targets with declining nature and biodiversity.”
In addition to activities related to the WWF Report, Riderwood’s Earth Day program will include a presentation by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation on the State of the Bay, films, lectures, and exhibits on conservation topics, and the always-popular jewelry sale.