This weekend’s mashup is International Day for Biological Diversity (22nd May) and World Turtle Day (23rd May)
I was twelve when I was nicknamed turtle, for my long neck and for moving from country to country and carrying my belongings on my back. I also walk like a turtle – very slowly – and over the years, I guess I’ve developed a substantial carapace. I’m an omnivore and cold-blooded like a turtle too, but just in the literal sense, in that my body temperature fluctuates with the outside temperature. Metaphorically, I’m probably more like a terrapin that lives both on land and in water, since I’ve made a life out of living in different countries with varied landscapes and culturally different types of people. And finally, on the age variable, I suppose I could be considered endangered, like 70% of turtles are today.
Over time, my nickname stuck and grew into a turtle collection made by gifts family and friends brought back from their travels. The 131 turtles and tortoises attest not only to how important turtles and tortoises came to mean for me but also to what they mean in so many cultures around the world. Turtles symbolize longevity, felicity and strength, among other symbolisms you can read about here.
The International Day for Biological Diversity is a day to remember all living animals that cohabit the earth with us, and conservation programs that have begun to spring up everywhere ensure that our fauna stays healthily diverse. For example, to end turtle egg poaching in Nicaragua, public awareness campaigns teach children to help turtle hatchlings reach the sea, which, many of you with young graduates at home will know is no small feat! Since we loved turtles enough to make them our legends, the idea of The International Day for Biological Diversity is to make sure all animals can stay with us here on our planet, and us with them.
So this weekend, celebrate biological diversity by falling in love with your favorite animals all over again and make our human species part of the solution, not the problem.