The fauna and flora that make up a myriad of habitats around the world have been compared to a library, each species a book containing unique and priceless knowledge. We are only just beginning to scrape the surface of the knowledge contained in this library: of the estimated 8-10 million species, only around 1.7 million have been catalogued and described. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ has assessed the extinction risk of all known mammals and birds, but, for example, only 1% of invertebrates.
The library of life on Earth contains a treasure trove of genetic diversity that holds untold secrets: around 10 per cent of Nobel prizes for medicine originate from research on amphibians alone. Nature has always fired our imaginations, been a subject of our stories, inspiring us with wonder and awe. It is deeply embedded in who we are. Whether we value nature for what it provides for us; for its intrinsic right to exist; for its wonder and beauty, or indeed for all of those reasons, there is an urgent need to act now to conserve Earth’s biodiversity for current and future generations.