Biodiversity is life

Biodiversity is our life

Humans are part of nature’s rich diversity and have the power to protect or destroy it.

Biodiversity, the variety of life on Earth, is essential to sustaining the living networks and systems that provide us all with health, wealth, food, fuel and the vital services our lives depend on.

Human activity is causing the diversity of life on Earth to be lost at a greatly accelerated rate. These losses are irreversible, impoverish us all and damage the life support systems we rely on everyday. But we can prevent them.

2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity. Let’s reflect on our achievements to safeguard biodiversity and focus on the urgency of our challenge for the future. Now is the time to act.

The boilerplate provides further explanation of the key messages to give people a better understanding of the International Year of Biodiversity. This can be used as a generic text, retaining all of the key information.

You are an integral part of nature; your fate is tightly linked with biodiversity, the huge variety of other animals and plants, the places they live and their surrounding environments, all over the world.

You rely on this diversity of life to provide you with the food, fuel, medicine and other essentials you simply cannot live without. Yet this rich diversity is being lost at a greatly accelerated rate because of human activities. This impoverishes us all and weakens the ability of the living systems, on which we depend, to resist growing threats such as climate change.

2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity, and people all over the world are working to safeguard this irreplaceable natural wealth and reduce biodiversity loss. This is vital for current and future human wellbeing. We need to do more. Now is the time to act.

The narrative provides the story and further explanation for the International Year of Biodiversity’s key messages. Its purpose is to create excitement, intrigue and help people discover biodiversity; how we are related to it, and the importance of safeguarding it.

You are biodiversity. Most of the oxygen you breathe comes from plankton in the oceans of the world and lush forests around the globe. The fruit and vegetables you eat were likely pollinated by bees, and the water you drink is part of a huge global cycle involving you, clouds, rainfall, glaciers, rivers and oceans.

Your diet depends almost entirely on the plants and animals around us, from the grasses that give us rice and wheat, to the fish and meat from both wild and farmed landscapes. Your body contains up to 100 trillion cells and is connected with everything around you and the wider world in a wonderfully complex and timeless system. You share your atoms with every being and object in the natural world, you are both ancient and inconceivably young. Biodiversity is life, your life is biodiversity and biodiversity is you.

You share the planet with as many as 13 million different living species including plants, animals and bacteria, only 1.75 million of which have been named and recorded. This incredible natural wealth is a priceless treasure that forms the ultimate foundation of our human wellbeing. The systems and processes these millions of neighbours collectively provide produce your food, water and the air you breathe – the basic fundamentals of life.

As if that was not enough they also supply you with timber and plant materials for furniture, building and fuel, the mechanisms that regulate your climate, control floods and recycle your waste and the novel compounds and chemicals from which medicines are made. You may take biodiversity so much for granted, and it is so obviously all around you, that it is sometimes easy to forget it’s there - that you are a part of it and can’t live apart from it.

Biodiversity’s contribution to your life is not just practical, physical and utilitarian, it is also cultural. The diversity of the natural world has been a constant source of inspiration throughout human history, influencing traditions, the way our society has evolved and supplying the basic goods and services upon which trade and the economy is built. The disappearance of unique species is a loss that cannot be calculated and leaves us all much poorer. The loss of iconic and symbolic species is not only a cultural tragedy; it also undermines our own survival. The beautiful, bountiful diversity of the natural world is being damaged as a result of human activities. Felling or burning of forests, removal of mangroves, intensive farming, pollution stress, overfishing and the impacts of climate change are all destroying biodiversity.

We can stop this loss, the question is will we? The International Year of Biodiversity is our chance to prove we will.

The Communications Campaign for 2010: Discovery and realization

Talking about biodiversity isn’t easy. It is a complex, scientific subject that encompasses everything and everyone. However, biodiversity is also an inspiring and exciting story – it is the story of life and the systems that sustain it.

If we want to motivate people around the world to take action to safeguard biodiversity, we need to help them discover the amazing connections between themselves and the world around them, and then realize the consequences of biodiversity loss as well as the huge benefits we will all share if we conserve and use it sustainably.

Excitement, opportunity, optimism, urgency

This is a real challenge, and we need to get our communications just right in order to succeed. It is vital that our communications...

...create excitement around the discovery that people are part of nature and intertwined with biodiversity.

...highlight the huge opportunity we are presented with, to safeguard biodiversity and create better lives for us all.

...create a strong sense of optimism that it’s not too late to act, and that together we can make a huge difference.

...are honest about the urgency of the challenge. Now is the time for action.

What our messages do

Our messages are designed to lay the foundations for your call to action. They aim to do this by following these objectives:

  • Remove the perception that people are disconnected from biodiversity.
  • Raise awareness of the threats of biodiversity loss and the benefits of safeguarding it.
  • Promote a sense of urgency for action to halt the loss of biodiversity, and encourage people to act now.

What your messages need to do

Using the International Year of Biodiversity 2010 messages as a foundation, your messages should do the following:

  • Urge your target audiences to take action.
  • Provide a list of specific actions they can take to safeguard biodiversity in your area.
  • Provide guidance for how to take action.

Message hierarchy

The table below outlines the 4 different types of message provided by the International Year of Biodiversity 2010, and the one that your organization will need to provide. It also describes the purpose of each of these message types for your communications.

Slogan The ‘hook’ Designed to grab attention and leave people wanting to know what this is all about.
Discoveries The ‘what’ Deliver the core messages for the International Year of Biodiversity 2010.
Boilerplate The ‘why’ Expansion and combination of the discoveries that provides a short overview and rationale for the International Year of Biodiversity 2010.
Narrative The ‘why’ The story behind biodiversity and the International Year of Biodiversity 2010
Call to Action The ‘how’ Specific calls to action, to be added by you.

Where to use these messages

The table below outlines which messages you should be using and when, on the range of different promotional methods available.

table page 12

Integrating your own messages

The International Year of Biodiversity is about your activities, campaigns and efforts to save biodiversity. Our messages create an important foundation, and we want to encourage you to use these as the introduction to your own activities.

It is important that at all times your messaging remains simple and concise. It should also maintain the sense of discovery, wonder and urgency that the campaign messages are based on. You do not have to clear these messages with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, but the Secretariat would appreciate receiving copies of any information material that you produce.

Your own action messages should:

  • Offer stakeholders practical actions they can do to help support your campaign.
  • Promote the activities and issues that are central to your campaign, mission or event.
  • Provide specific examples of:

  - Ecosystem services that are directly relevant to your area and that your stakeholders will be familiar with.
  - Success stories from your area. These might include the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, or the equitable sharing of benefits from the use of the genetic resources of our world.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I translate this into a local language?
Yes. We want the International Year of Biodiversity messages to reach as many people as possible, so all partners are encouraged to translate the International Year of Biodiversity messages into local languages. Once translated, please send a copy to the Secretariat.

Can I make adjustments to the messages?
We discourage people from making adjustments to the messages, unless it is absolutely necessary for translation into local languages. The messages were designed to clearly communicate the aims of the International Year of Biodiversity, and changing them could cause confusion. If you feel you need to make adjustments, think about creating your own “action” messages, which we describe in the section on integrating your own messages (above).

The message doesn’t say anything specific about marine ecosystems, what do I do?
The message is designed to provide clear communications to the world about the International Year of Biodiversity. We encourage you to integrate your own actions relevant to your organization’s specific ecosystems or issues. For example, you can add additional messages and actions into your own brochure after the main messages are transmitted.

Communications Guidelines

Please read the Communications Guidelines before using the logo.

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