Biodiversity – Juan Amarillo Wetland – Colombia

Colombian students Juan PabloDaniel and Jorge explored the nature area Juan Amarillo’s wetland in Colombia. They classified this area as rich in biodiversity.

They shared with us why:

Talking about animals, the wetland has mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fishes but the class with most species are the birds, being in the top of Juan Amarillo’s food chain. The biodiversity in Juan Amarillo’s wetland is so important that there are migratory animals that live periods of time there, such as the Canadian duck and some migratory bats. There is one typical mammal that lives in the wetland named the “curi” or the Cavia porcellus (same animal). The Cavia porcellus is a member of the order Rodentia, it is not in extinction danger although some neighbors of the wetland hunt it in order to eat it or have it as a pet.

The wetland has great quantities of plants, the majority are water plants such as the Lemna gibba, Juncus Sirpus califirnicus or Limnobium sp, these water plants are the base of the food chain in the wetland with the phytoplankton. As we said before there are a lot of native birds in the wetland, for example: Rallus semiplumbeus that only lives in Cundinamarca and Boyacá (Cundinamarca and Boyaca are “states”. It is like saying “California” and “Florida”). This bird is in extinction danger.

The text above is an extract of three YMP students in their learning journey on sustainable development from their mission on exploring biodiversity in their surroundings.

♦Students: Juan Pablo Arenas, Daniel Reina, Jorge Velasco
Teacher: Martha Cecilia Gómez Tobar
School: Gimnasio Campestre
Location: Bogotá Colombia

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How is your history or philosophy class related to sustainable development?

Over 2500 years ago, the philosopher Plato complained that humans had disturbed the hills in Greece. What would he say today?

It is well known that in order to understand our world today we have to look back in time and observe the collection of events that lead to the current landscape of the world. A question that intrigues us at the YMP is: How was humanity able to create the big sustainability challenges that we face today?

It seems that since long ago some people were able to observe and express detrimental causes of certain human activities. But it also seems that people have not been able to listen or do things differently. Why? Very likely people are not always prepared to listen, people not always understand the importance of an observation or fact. In some cases, there is something limiting us to do something. It can be our societal context. The aim of education for sustainable development is to equip us with tools and skills that help us listen, understand, and act. At the YMP we focus on helping youth find out by themselves what is needed and what it takes to make things happen.

A short story of the connection between society and nature, the subtle disregard to a keen observation, and its consequences reflected today 

All organisms have an effect on their environment. As a species, humans have had a large and widespread impact on the natural environment. Environmental disturbance by humans is nothing new. Over 2500 years ago, the famous philosopher Plato complained that humans had disturbed the hills in Greece. The forests had been chopped down and when it rained the soil was washed away by rainwater, which drained into the rivers. It became very difficult to grow things in the ground. What is new is the rapid increase of impacts as population grows and the accumulated effects.

Humans have changed the environment to suit our “improved” lifestyles. While adapting nature to our needs, we have damaged our natural environment in many different ways. Of course our ancestors did not mean to damage their surroundings and we did not know about many of the problems we have been causing until a few decades ago.

Today we know more! And we are aware of the resulting challenges we are facing. Namely climate change, biodiversity loss, food insecurity, the steep transition to low-carbon energy sources, socio-economic inequalities including poverty, lack of health care, and issues of human rights among other challenges.

What is the next step?

Keep reading about sustainable development challenges on the YMP Programme.

Can you find an example from your history lessons in which a single event had detrimental social and environmental effects? Share here

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In the YMP youth learn and discuss globally about sustainable development, and they create local solutions.

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Sustainable Development Glossary A-Z

Join a Smart Word! We know how frustrating it can be to read an interesting article on  sustainable development and come upon certain terms that you have no idea what they mean. Finding a concise definition on internet can take some time. We want to make your reading and learning about Sustainable Development easier with this Sustainable Development Glossary A-Z. Find your word with a click below:

A / B / C / D / E / F / G / H / I / J / K / LM / N / O / P / Q / R / S / T / U / V / W / X / Y / Z

Is the term that you look for missing in this glossary? Let us know here. We will add that term for you!

Coming soon: Examples of discussions and action taken by youth related to main terms in the glossary will be constantly added to the glossary.  Stay tune!


This glossary is extracted from the YMP – free distance course on Sustainable Development for students between ages 16-18.  In the YMP youth and their teachers learn and discuss globally about sustainable development while taking local action towards more sustainable societies. YMP is provided in English and is open to students from all countries.

What is the YMP?  watch video

Students write about their experience in the YMP:

Builders or destructors of the upcoming generations

Jatin Garg from Delhi, India writes about the YMP

What teachers say about YMP:

What can a teacher gain from the YMP? Interview with teacher Belgin Arusoglu. Turkey

What can YMP add to the school´s curriculum on sustainable development? YMP teacher experience

Together we are taking steps towards a more sustainable world.

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