The Gambia has on Tuesday joined the rest of the international community to celebrate International Day for Bio-diversity.
At a ceremony held within the premises of the Department of Parks and Wildlife, Abuko, representatives of various stakeholders, opinion leaders, local authorities from Lamin, Abuko, Wellingara, Sinchu, students etc, seized the opportunity to reflect on the theme ‘Climate change and biological diversity.’
This year’s theme embraces the impacts of climate change and suggests that ecological systems are the most vulnerable sectors. Agriculture in low latitude developing countries is expected to be especially vulnerable because climates of many of these countries are already too hot.
In his address, Dr Almamy Camara, Director of the Department of Parks and Wildlife, outlined ‘the need to adapt to new patterns of temperature and rainfall which, he said, has been a major influence on evolutionary changes that produce the plant and animal species we see today.’ Pursuing in this alarming perspective, he indicated if the current trend continues ‘the rise in average global temperatures will be faster than anything experienced by the planet for at least 10, 000 years. Many species will simply be unable to adapt quickly enough to the new conditions, or to move to regions more suited to their survival.’ In other words, climate change is consequently expected to adversely reduce the ecosystem and biodiversity.
According to him, these effects are exacerbated by the fact that ‘in the atmosphere, gases such as water vapour, CO2, ozone and methane act like glass roof of a green house by tapping heat and warming the planet.’ Needless to say that consequences are about to reach an apocalyptical level: ‘‘A 40-60% decrease in total available water in large catchment basins of Niger, Lake Chad and River Senegal; the retreat of 70% of sandy shorelines and a northward movement of some 100 km of Alaska’s boreal forest for every 2 degree Celsius rise in temperature.’’
Putting his analysis into a dialectical perspective he said, ‘‘the links between biodiversity and climate change run both ways: biodiversity is threatened by climate, but proper management of climate change can reduce the impacts of climate change.’’
Speaking earlier, Alhagie Manjang, Senior Wildlife Conservation Officer at the Department of Parks and Wildlife, Abuko, focused on human activities that in the Gambian context is contributing to the warming of the planet. He mentioned that: “Poor fishing methods, poor farming, sand mining, oyster collection methods, among others are threatening our very livelihood.” He also called on people to bear in mind that the planet is constituted by different parts like the land, sea, the oceans and the atmosphere. For him, the interaction existing between these parts make the world a better place to live.
He concluded by reiterating the necessity to allow the future generations to live in a better world.