Revive damaged ecosystems on World Environment Day
World Environment Day 2021 (5th June) calls for urgent action to revive our damaged ecosystems.
We all depend on healthy ecosystems for our survival – from forests to peatlands to coasts. Ecosystems are defined as the interaction between living organisms – plants, animals, people – with their surroundings. This includes nature, but also human-made systems such as cities or farms.
We are losing and destroying the foundations of our survival at an alarming rate. Over 4.7 million hectares of forests – an area larger than Denmark – are lost every year. That’s one football pitch every three seconds. Over half of the world’s wetlands have disappeared in the last century.
Ecosystem loss is depriving the world of carbon sinks like forests and peatlands at a time humanity can least afford it. Global greenhouse gas emissions have grown for three consecutive years and the planet is one pace for potentially catastrophic climate change.
The emergence of COVID-19 has also shown just how disastrous the consequences of ecosystem loss can be. We have been shrinking the area of natural habitat for animals and so have created ideal conditions for pathogens – including coronaviruses – to spread.
We can build back better
Ecosystem restoration is a global undertaking at a massive scale. It means repairing billions of hectares of land – an area greater than China or the USA – so that people have access to food, clean water and jobs.
It means bringing back plants and animals from the brink of extinction, from the peaks of mountains to the depths of the sea.
But it also includes the many small actions everyone can take, every day: growing trees, greening our cities, rewilding our gardens or cleaning up trash alongside rivers and coasts.
Get involved on World Environment Day
Earth needs help. The climate emergency, the loss of nature and deadly pollution threaten to destroy our home and eliminate many of the millions of species that share this beautiful planet with us. But this degradation is not inevitable. We have the power and the knowledge to reverse the harm and restore the Earth – if we act now.
Each one of us has a role to play to prevent, halt and reverse ecosystem degradation and secure a sustainable future for all. Some ideas are outlined below in how to make World Environment Day 2021 the start of changing how we interact with our environment. Encourage others around you to do the same.
- Learn out more about your local ecosystems and what is driving degradation or loss of biodiversity.
- Announce an ambitious restoration project or policy initiative – whether at local, regional or national level.
- Volunteer for an existing restoration effort.
- Clean up a lake, beach, park or other natural area.
- Green your home, business, school, or a public space with indigenous trees or plants.
Make smarter choices
- Donate or provide other support for restoration or conservation initiatives.
- Avoid buying single-use plastics. Plastic waste that ends up in nature is often mistaken for food by animals both on land and at sea. For many species, it can cause severe injury and death.
- Find out if your cosmetics and products contain harmful microbeads through the Beat the Microbead app.
- Halt purchases of products and services that are not certified as sustainable.
- Start a new diet or catering policy based on seasonal, sustainable and plant-rich products.
- Explore how to buy locally produced products and foods.
Raise your voice
- Put on or participate in an exhibition of posters, photos or art showing the beauty of local ecosystems.
- Hold a discussion about the value of ecosystems and the threats they face.
- Stage an online campaign to draw attention to climate change, nature loss and what can be done to reverse these trends.
- Write a letter to your local newspaper.
Source: World Environment Day website.Published on Tuesday, May 18th, 2021, under Uncategorised