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Food Security Threatened Globally Due To Diminishing Biological Diversity – OpEd

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Food. We all need it. But most of us pay little attention to where it comes from. Most rarely give thought to how the world’s rich variety of nature—biological diversity—contributes to the food on our table.

The world’s population is growing so quickly and its nutritional needs are so far from being met. By 2025, humanity must produce as much food as it does now because agriculture is failing to meet the challenge.

The reason is, the environmental basis of food production is being destroyed by human aggression mainly habitat destruction.

Our planet’s food security depends on saving nature. This is because genes from wild crop plants are the ones that provide protection of crops from pests and diseases.

These useful genes are regularly introduced by plant breeders into domestic varieties. Wheat, rice, corn potatoes and all staples rely on wild genes.

Unfortunately the habitat of these original crops are being destroyed at a very fast clip. Native plants and animals and their habitat contribute to humans’ survival. Yet we often disregard that forests ensure farmers with enough water to grow crops. We forget that it is through decomposition, pollination that crops are fertilized and are made to reproduce.

We are killing the biodiversity of “survival foods”, those crops that can grow in extreme heat or cold, poor soil, little water, too dry or too salty environs. Survival foods have genes that allow food crops under extreme harsh conditions.

Most of the remaining genes of original wild crops are in the gene banks of multinational food corporations who now control global food production and supply.

Worst, the indigenous knowledge on these food crops by indigenous peoples are being eroded by wrong and inappropriate introduction of modern technology and globalization.

Worldwide, wild crop varieties are being destroyed. Tropical forests that contain 80 percent  of world species are being razed to a staggering rate of two million hectares a year.

At a conservative estimate, 50,000 species, or about one in five of all plants will be extinct by 2050.

Some of the most important sites where crops originated and other wild treasures, are being destroyed by deforestation, mining and settlement encroachment.

Daily, biological diversity, Earth’s life insurance is eroded. Thereby eroding food security.

But not many are heeding the danger signs.

Because not many humans now really care for the next generation.

Dr. Michael A. Bengwayan

Dr. Michael A. Bengwayan

Dr. Michael A. Bengwayan wrote for the British Panos News and Features and GEMINI News Service, the Brunei Times, and US Environment News Service. In the Philippines, he wrote for DEPTHNews of the Press Foundation of Asia, Today, the Philippine Post, and Vera Files. A practicing environmentalist, he holds postgraduate degrees in environment resource management and development studies as a European Union (EU) Fellow at University College, Dublin, Ireland. He is currently a Fellow of Echoing Green Foundation of New York City. He now writes for Business Mirror and Eurasia Review.

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