By Hugo Benítez, PhD in Evolutionary Biology and director of the PhD in Ecosystem Health at the Universidad Católica del Maule, assistant researcher at the Millennium Institute of Antarctic and Subantarctic Biodiversity (BASE) and Associate Researcher at the Basal Centro Internacional Cabo de Hornos (CHIC).
Earth Day focuses on raising awareness of the need to protect and preserve the environment to ensure a sustainable future for generations to come. Today we celebrate Earth Day, a day to reflect on our role in protecting and preserving the environment in a changing world, which is why it is crucial that we can all work together to preserve our planet and its natural resources for future generations.
This objective is closely related to our new PhD program in Ecosystem Health at the Universidad Católica del Maule, mainly to promote the One Health approach since the health of the environment is fundamental to human and animal health.
Chile is said to be an island biogeographic because it is geographically located as an isolated and unique country in South America, which has led to the development of interesting and unique biodiversity. This «island» biogeographic condition is explained geographically because our country extends along a narrow strip of land on the west coast of South America, flanked by the Andes Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west.
This isolated location has allowed the development of unique microorganisms, flora and fauna that are not found in other parts of the continent and why not say it, the world. Besides, it is also important to note that Chile has a considerable variety of climates, ranging from the Atacama Desert, with our great salt flats in the north, to the temperate forests in the south to reach the Antarctic, our beloved white desert.
On the eve of Earth Day, we committed as a country to a new National Lithium Strategy Chile can set an example of how to move from an economy based on destruction to an economy based on protection. However, for this, scientific opinion is the key.
Finally, this day reminds us of the importance of taking measures to reduce our carbon footprint and protect the biodiversity of our planet. We must take steps to reduce our energy consumption, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve natural ecosystems and reduce waste and pollution. I do not doubt that, as individuals, we can make a big difference by adopting sustainable practices in our daily lives, such as recycling, reducing plastic consumption, reducing motorized transport and supporting conservation initiatives. If we all take action together, we can make a positive impact and help ensure a sustainable future for our planet, which is the cause our academic institution has taken action with both its undergraduate degrees in natural resources and our Ph.D. program in Ecosystem Health.
This Earth Day, let’s commit to be part of the change and contribute to the protection of our planet. Together, we can make a significant difference in the fight against climate change and environmental conservation.
Click here to visit the CIEAM Website