Any chance you’d remember how you came across the term “biodiversity” before? If not, let me make it easier for you by making you pick from the choices listed below instead. Could you have learned about biodiversity through:
A. Printed materials. It could be academic textbooks (don’t be shy now), magazines, posters, or newspapers. Billboards—why not?
B. Radio. Probably from listening to news announcements and radio programs. Or from an FM station, perhaps?
C. TV. Of course, the most popular and widespread broadcast communicating medium in the country. Let’s see: The Discovery Channel? Or late-night documentaries like The Correspondents or The Probe Team?
D. Friends or from other people. Maybe you know somebody who’s into environment stuff, hopefully not a pet collector. Or you’ve been invited to discussions, or a monthly forum? Let’s not forget the classroom.
E. Internet. Surfing the World Wide Web could lead you to environment-related sites, or could get you to this blog, for example.
For me, it would have to be A. I happened to be tidying up the room of our college department laboratory, back at the time when I was already a graduating student. On one of the desks I was arranging, I noticed a book with an attractive front cover showing a pair of Philippine Eagles attending to their offspring. The title read, “Biodiversity, Conservation, and the Community.” I figured the book probably had something to do with animals, but I couldn’t quite define what “biodiversity” was. I was familiar with “bio,” which meant life, then “diversity” meant variety. Ah, variety of life! Easy. I scanned through the pages for a few seconds, then I put the book on a shelf somewhere, never to lay hands on it again until fate brought me to work for a conservation NGO several months later. But just to formally define “biodiversity,” I quote Catibog-Sinha and Heaney from their book, “Philippine Biodiversity: Principles and Practice,” which goes:
Biodiversity means the variety and extent of differences among living things, at the species, genetic, and ecosystem levels.
Most of you who have learned about biodiversity may have found out about it through either of those conventional channels I’ve mentioned above. If you encountered the term for the first time through this blog, that’s really flattering. But that only means you have not heard of it before regardless of whichever medium, which to me indicates that biodiversity, or more specifically Philippine biodiversity, still has a long way to go before it becomes as commonplace as Jollibee in the Philippines.