In praise of "all creatures great and small", International Biodiversity Day. May 22 celebrates our planet's super-abundance of living things including this remarkable dragonfly . Macro Image and copyright by Andy Luck, design by almighty God.

In praise of “all creatures great and small”, International Biodiversity Day. May 22 celebrates our planet’s super-abundance of living things including this remarkable dragonfly . Macro Image and copyright by Andy Luck, design by almighty God.

May 22 has celebrated our planet’s super-abundance of living things since it’s establishment by the UN in 1993.

The theme for 2015 is Biodiversity for Sustainable Development.

“This year’s theme reflects the importance of efforts made at all levels to establish a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the United Nations Post-2015 Development Agenda for the period of 2015-2030 and the relevance of biodiversity for the achievement of sustainable development” according to the UN’s Convention on Biodiversity website.

This morning I was greeted by the joyous news that today is the international day to celebrate biodiversity, the entire variety of living creatures from all the known KIngdoms: animals, plants, protoctists, bacteria, fungi and if you want to include viruses, you can. They have a habit of including themselves after all, even if they mostly only ‘live’ when within other bodies!

I appreciate E.O. Wilson’s assertion that “God loves beetles” because he’s made so very many of them.

A Red Deer stag's wary eye peers from the shelter of bracken

Let’s celebrate life on Earth today. Even though nobody knows how many species there are to an order of magnitude (10’s or 100’s of millions), we do know that biodiversity is infinitely precious. Photo and Copyright Andy Luck.

One model of beetle was definitely not sufficient. Another thing I can say with confidence is that variety favors survival on this planet. The oldest and most stable ecosystems tend to have the greatest diversification of creatures.

As MIdori Paxton has astutely pointed out on the UNDP Blog,
‘Not everything that counts can be counted…’ (May 22, 2015) ‘ and not everything that can be counted counts.’ So goes the oft-quoted adage by Albert Einstein. Wise words no doubt and, despite their overuse, I make no apology for repeating them. Indeed every time I hear them, either verbatim, or paraphrased, as someone working to conserve ecosystems and biodiversity, I feel encouraged. So often, they apply to our work, to the multitude of threats that have been wrecking the natural world driven by dollars rather than sense and, most importantly to the many potential solutions that lie within our reach. Here is another quote. Rather less celebrated. Never before in print, in fact. It came from the lips of a friend, watching something small and furry, and fearing the worst upon its discovery (and capture by a cat) in her lavender beds.  “What a precious vole!” she said, caring, delighted surprise all too apparent both in her face and voice. While scientists might deride the emotion when used to describe a species, we’d still agree with “precious” as appropriate, given that in terms of food chains and ecological balance, the vole is an essential piece in the complex jigsaw that comprises a viable ecosystem. “

Rodents are precious within their ecosystems. Andy Luck photo and copyright.

Rodents are precious within their ecosystems. Andy Luck photo and copyright.

We can fairly measure the living wealth of Planet Earth, not merely in terms of biomass, but also in terms of the great variety of difference in types of living things, and the differences in their lifestyles and how they interact.

As we cast our telescopes around the known Universe, we can only wonder at the possible astro-biodiversity. All we know for certain is that there is life here, on Planet Earth in 2015 and that the myriad life-forms that currently co-exist are interdependent to an important degree and are worthy of preservation for their intrinsic and other values, including some synergies that we are just beginning to recognize.

See the Convention on Biological Diversity webpage for 2015 (https://www.cbd.int/idb/2015/) for more info.

Also see attempts to create a single database of every known type of living organism The Catalogue of Life (http://www.catalogueoflife.org/ )