Hello! Long time no see. Have you been well? Me too. Thanks for asking.
Sometimes, two holidays fall on the same day and they totally have nothing to do with each other. Sometimes they have a lot to do with each other in a good way. But sometimes they have a lot to do with each other. In a bad way. Regretfully, today is kind of one of those days.
1) International Day for Biological Diversity
International Day for Biological Diversity has kind of a troubled past. It was sanctioned by the U.N. in 1993, basically to call awareness to the fact that there are a lot of things on the planet and tradition indicates we (people, internationally speaking) tend to extinct a lot more of them than we save. In fact, some biologists suggest that about 1-3% of all the species that have ever existed are still existing. “That’s just evolution!” you might say. “Sure, fair enough, whatever, I don’t really want to talk about this all that much anyway, it’s just what day it is,” I would reply. Then maybe we’d both have a good laugh and our friendship would deepen. I don’t know, or not, whatever.
Okay, so originally, International Day for Biological Diversity was observed on December 29 to commemorate the adoption of the Convention of Biological Diversity. However, it quickly (7 years later) dawned on the U.N. that December actually already has a pretty fair share of holidays. And a lot of the biggies at that. So the moved it to May 22, the day they voted to adopt the Convention of Biological Diversity. Each year has it’s own theme. Last year was “Maritime Biodiversity.” This year, it’s “Water and Biodiversity,” which is a little bit broader.
And frankly, as a world, we’re not actually doing so hot in the water and biodiversity department. In fact, the U.N. has also declared the period of 2005-2015 the year of “Decade of Water Cooperation.” A cooperative study out of Southern Cross University suggests that as much as 80% of people on the planet are currently experiencing some level of threat to their water supply. And as wealthy nations devise technology to address the threat without addressing the underlying issues, the threat level both to the waterways of poorer nations and the lives in that water increase.
So be aware!
2. National Maritime Day
Today is also the day for Americans to celebrate our merchant marines. The merchant marine in the U.S. is made up of privately held maritime shipping companies. They move stuff and people on ships. During wartime, they may also be called on to move warthings. They are also a big threat to our water biodiversity, particularly due to the constant dredging of inland waters necessary to make way for large ships carrying tomatoes from Chile (yum!) for us to eat in the winter.
Not only that, but they’re also pretty prolific dumpers of garbage (which is often found washing up on the shores of Scotland) and fuel.
That being said, the merchant marine are also super useful. Our top two imports and exports are the same (fuel, nuclear stuff), but while the rest of our major exports (TV stuff, iron and steel, machine parts) are the sort of major industrial components that you and I never really need to think about that hard, the remainder of our top imports are all things worth loving: clothes, toys, electronics, winter fruits. It’s a classic “everything we do destroys something, and I love my iPhone” situation.
I mean, I do love getting my tomatoes in the winter, so I’m not trying to harp on the people and large tankers that make that necessary. But maybe we should just combine these holidays into one major holiday called “All Human Activity Threatens Our Ecosystem Day” and uh, call it a day.