What does Biosphere mean?

‘Biosphere’ is the scientific name for the living surface of our planet, encompassing the land, the sea and the air we breathe.

It is at the very essence of our survival.

What is a UNESCO Biosphere?

UNESCO is the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

Biospheres exist under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme.

The programme began in 1971, initially finding solutions to ensure the protection of land, sea and species.

It was expanded in the mid-1990s to also consider areas’ economy, culture, heritage and community and how they contribute to the way we live.

The Isle of Man was admitted to the world network of Biospheres in 2016 and is one of 714 Biospheres in 129 countries and one of eight UK and Ireland Biospheres (the Island reports to UNESCO via UK MAB).

Biospheres vary greatly in terms of their population size, geography, ecosystems, socio-economic situations and challenges. Biospheres therefore have different aims. Yet, all Biospheres have two things in common: a special environment and a population committed to keeping it that way.

Biospheres have three central functions:

Conservation of our natural and built environment, our culture and heritage, our communities and our special sense of place.

Sustainable development and how we live our lives in a way that ensures a healthy future for our economy, environment and society. This is delivered by via the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, or 'Global Goals'.

Education about the impact our actions have and how we can make decisions and take actions that have a positive effect on our planet.