Today is World Environment Day! According to the United Nations, June 5 has been the most eminent day for environmental action since it was founded in 1974. 

“This year, the theme is biodiversity – a concern that is both urgent and existential,” states the U.N. “Recent events, from bushfires in Brazil, the United States, and Australia to locust infestations across East Africa – and now, a global disease pandemic – demonstrate the interdependence of humans and the webs of life, in which they exist.”

This year, World Environment Day is hosted by Columbia. Located in South America, with over 51,000 species and 300 varieties of ecosystems, Columbia is rich with biodiversity.

Want to test how much you already know about biodiversity? Take this quiz and find out! 

Why is biodiversity so important right now? The more humans encroach on nature through deforestation and agriculture, the less biodiverse the world becomes. As habitats are destroyed, species previously cut off from people begin to come in contact with us, potentially giving rise to dangerous “zoonotic” viruses like Covid19. “Zoonotic” diseases are caused by germs that transfer from animals to humans. Some examples include Ebola and influenza. 

“The emergence of COVID-19 has underscored the fact that, when we destroy biodiversity, we destroy the system that supports human life. Today, it is estimated that, globally, about one billion cases of illness and millions of deaths occur every year from diseases caused by coronaviruses; and about 75 percent of all emerging infectious diseases in humans are zoonotic, meaning that they are transmitted to people by animals,” the UN states.

Want to learn more about how you can protect biodiversity? Check out these 30 quests from Earth School that help kids across the globe explore and understand nature.

Read the latest news and stories about World Environment Day.

Environmental Engineering Technology 

What Do Environmental Engineering Technology Graduates Do? Are you interested in the dynamic relationship between human activity and the environment? Learn more about becoming an Environmental Engineer with TryEngineering. Also watch the on-demand virtual event, TryEngineering Live: Engineer Spotlight with IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society