Biodiversity Day, May 22: Gothenburg Gears Up with Activities; ‘1,000,000 species threatened with extinction’


Gothenburg is witnessing posters of politicians contesting for the European Union’s parliamentary elections slated to take place on May 26. Almost all political parties are promising to fight to take measures to prevent climate change. But Gothenburgers want the politicians to do more: act swiftly. To this effect, climate-change activists gather every Friday at Gustav Adolf Torg under the banner: Fridays for Future. Emelie Ribeiro, is one of the activists who comes to the square on Fridays, demanding the politicians to take concrete measures to prevent climate change, locally and nationally. She told that the politicians are not doing enough: because we are far away from achieving the goal of reducing temperatures by 1.5 degree Celsius.

‘For decades, researchers argued the global temperature rise must be kept below 2C by the end of this century to avoid the worst impacts,’ says a BBC report. ‘But scientists now argue that keeping below 1.5C is a far safer limit for the world.’

 ‘Fridays For Future’ is a people’s movement following the call from Greta Thunberg. Greta Thunberg is a Swedish schoolgirl who began protesting about the need for immediate action to combat climate change outside the Swedish parliament and has become a global face of climate activism.

According to a press release by Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) warns that the nature is witnessing ‘Dangerous Decline’ and witnessing ‘Unprecedented Species Extinction Rates’. It says the ‘Current global response insufficient; ‘Transformative changes’ needed to restore and protect nature; Opposition from vested interests can be overcome for public good.’ The press release from IPBES was released after the 7th session of the IPBES Plenary meeting held in the last week of last month (29 April – 4 May) in Paris. It says after a comprehensive assessment, it is assessed that ‘1,000,000 species threatened with extinction’.

“The overwhelming evidence of the IPBES Global Assessment, from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, presents an ominous picture,” noted IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson. “The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.” He emphasized that ‘it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global’.

According to IPBES Global Assessment Report:

  • Around 1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction
  • Native species in most major land-based habitats has fallen by at least 20%, mostly since 1900. More than 40% of amphibian species, almost 33% of reefforming corals and more than a third of all marine mammals are threatened.
  • At least 680 vertebrate species had been driven to extinction since the 16th century and more than 9% of all domesticated breeds of mammals used for food and agriculture had become extinct by 2016, with at least 1,000 more breeds still threatened.
  • The direct drivers of change, ‘culprits’, in nature are: changes in land and sea use, direct exploitation of organisms, climate change, pollution and invasive alien species.
  • Since 1980, greenhouse gas emissions have doubled (resulting in the rise of average global temperatures by at least 0.7 degrees Celsius)

IPBES is a unique global organization: independent organization of member states and non-governmental organizations and was established in 2012. Its objective are to strengthen the science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, long-term human well-being and sustainable development.

Activities in Gothenburg on Biodiversity Day: May 22

Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre (GGBC) and the Museum of Natural History are organising a unique event: an evening of wild fieldwork stories from 17-19.30 at the museum by Slottskogen! The stories will come from fieldwork of the biologists who were at uncharted areas to collect samples of life forms in unusual habitats. The narrators will be from GGBC and its partners such as the Department of Biological & Environmental Science of Gothenburg University and Botanical Garden in the city.

Herbarium GB: On Biodiversity Day, Herbarium GB is inviting people in and around Gothenburg, and from elsewhere, to ‘come see and learn about the collections of dried plants, fungi, and algae that are the cornerstone of much of the biodiversity research in Gothenburg’. It has 1 million dried specimens of plants and some date 1700s and some far different corners of the world such as the Flora of Ecuador. The specimens offer a window to the fascinating stories ‘to our understanding of life on earth’.

Tours to the herbarium will start every half hour on May 22, 2019 from 15.00, 15.30, 16.00 and 16.30 and the meeting place is at the entrance of Botan-huset, University of Gothenburg. Tours will be held in either Swedish or English, according to demand.


In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly has adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) with targets that are measured with indicators. They are: 1. No Poverty 2. Zero Hunger 3. Good Health & Wellbeing 4. Quality Education 5. Gender Equality 6. Clean Water & Sanitation 7. Affordable & Clean Energy 8. Decent Work & Economic Growth 9. Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure 10. Reducing Inequality 11. Sustainable Cities & Communities 12. Responsible Consumption & Responsible Production 13. Climate Action 14. Life Below Water 15. Life On Land 16. Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions 17. Partnerships for Goals. University of Oxford in England has a dedicated centre that tracks the Sustainable Development Goals.


United Nations has designated 2011-2020 as the Decade on Diversity, in October 2010 at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan with 3 objectives: conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of the components of biological diversity and, fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. The goal of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity is to support the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and to promote its overall vision of living in harmony with nature. The next decade, 2020-2030, is designated as the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration.