Ecological Development and Plant Health Year 2020

Dr. Md. Neyamul Islam

15 February, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Ecological development is the forming standard for development programs that support the well-being of both people and the planet. The concept and term of ecological development has expanded to bridge gaps among environmental, economic, health and social concerns. Thus, ecological development becomes the embodiment of environmental safeguard, biological integrity, economic practicability, social harmony and human needs. Despite some signs of hope in regards to adaptation of this all-encompassing philosophy of development, we need to do better as we face complex challenges like conflict and climate change that directly impact the dignity and well-being of humankind.

We are confident to safeguard that all human beings can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives where economic, social and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature. Nowadays, inequality is one of the defining issues of our time. Economic prosperity and progress on climate change can be achieved concurrently. We are steadfast to protect the planet from degradation by adapting to sustainable consumption and production, prudent management of natural resources and urgent action on climate change. This is the single outlet for survival. Also, this is the only way to protect and preserve a planet that can support the needs of present and future generations.

Moreover, the planet is facing a climate emergency which is outpacing our efforts to address. At current rate, global warming is likely to reach at least 1.5 degrees Celsius between 2030 and 2052, leading to significant risks to health, livelihood, food security, water supply and economic growth. Without intensive action, it could drive 100 million more people into poverty by 2030. Worldwide heating is expected to decrease crop yields in many areas, and thus exacerbate food insecurity, under nutrition, and stunting in poor communities. Currently, around 1 million animal and plant species are facing extinction, which is the highest number in human history. While deforestation has slowed, it still continues around the world. At the same time, land degradation, salinization and desertification have gathered pace. In many regions, water quality has significantly worsened since 1990 due to organic and chemical pollution. More than 75 percent of freshwater resources are now devoted to crop or livestock farming. Achieving key SDGs can play a significant role in addressing climate change.

Climate transformation and human actions are moving ecosystems, reducing biodiversity and creating conditions where pests can thrive. At the same time, international travel and trade has tripled in volume in the last decade and can quickly spread pests and diseases around the world causing great damage to native plants and environment. Plants provide us with the building blocks of life—oxygen, food, fuel and a stable environment which is ideal habitat for all living species. And yet, in the modern world, they are under ever‐increasing threat from introduced pests and diseases. Every year, up to 40 percent of global food crops are lost to plant pests and diseases. So, if unchecked, plant epidemics can have devastating impacts on human health, biodiversity and food security, as well as contributing to environmental degradation.

Plants are also threatened in a globalized world because people are transporting pests and pathogens around at an unprecedented rate. Natural resistance to pests and pathogens has never been more important. In this special issue of Plants, People, and the Planet, we focus on resistance found in tree populations. This has long been a neglected area of research, but one that is ripe for rapid progress using genomic methods. Protecting plants from pests and diseases is far more cost effective than dealing with full-blown plant health emergencies. Plant pests and diseases are often impossible to eradicate once they have established themselves, and managing them is time consuming and expensive.

Plants are really important for the planet and for all living things. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen through their leaves, which humans and other animals need to breathe and live. Plants are the root of all lives on the planet, as all living species are overwhelmingly dependent on plants- to breathe, eat, take shelter and live. Plants help to clean water too. A healthy plant is usually upright with green leaves. Plants need air, light, warmth, water and nutrients to be healthy. Keeping plants or plant products free from pests and diseases will facilitate trade and ensures greater market access for developing countries. For this, it is important to adhere to harmonized international phytosanitary regulations and standards. When combating pests and diseases, farmers should adopt, and policymakers should promote eco-friendly methods such as integrated pest management to help keep plants healthy whilst protecting the environment.

Legislators, regulators, and policymakers should empower plant protection authority and other relevant entities by providing adequate human and financial resources. Investment and allocation in plant-health related research should be increased to find and evolve as innovative practices and technologies for sustainable farming and forest management. The United Nations has designated this year as International Year of Plant Health (IYPH). Strategic partnerships and collaborations with stakeholders, including government, academia, civil society and business community are essential to achieve the objective of International Year of Plant Health 2020.

Awareness can play a major role in transformation towards environmentally responsible sustainable communities. An aware community is better prepared to address environmental crises and check climate change. The challenges are pressing. Human behaviour has led to environmental degradation. Overpopulation, unsustainable lifestyle, reckless consumerism, excessive use of fossil fuels, plastic and land filling waste—all contributed in fostering global warming. A public-private-faculty-community collaborative approach is an urgent call to shape values and perspectives, enhance competence, stop unsustainable practices and adapt to changes in eating and living habit. Human race is tasked with saving the planet as climate change is nothing but the consequences of overstepping the ecological boundaries by humankind.


The writer is the Additional Commissioner, Custom House, Benapole.

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