This year, 5 June, World Environment Day, marks the official launch of the UN decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a 10-year push to halt and reverse the decline of the natural world.
You might be wondering: what exactly is an ecosystem and how do you restore one?
To answer the first question an ecosystem is a place where plants, animals and other organisms, in conjunction with the landscape around them, come together to form the web of life.
Ecosystems can be large, like a forest, or small, like a pond. Many are crucial to human societies, providing people with water, food, building materials and a host of other essentials. They also provide planet-wide benefits like climate protection and biodiversity conservation.
Only with healthy ecosystems can we enhance people’s livelihoods, counteract climate change and stop the collapse of biodiversity.
World Environment Day offers a global platform for inspiring positive change. It pushes for individuals to think about the way they consume; for businesses to develop greener models; for farmers and manufacturers to produce more sustainably; for governments to invest in repairing the environment; for educators to inspire students to take action; and for youth to build a greener future.
Everybody living on this planet, in this moment in time can be a part of #GenerationRestoration
Designed for all interested individuals and stakeholder groups, OurBetterPlanet outlines three pathways to getting involved in ecosystem restoration during the UN Decade and beyond:
A few ways to facilitate this is by creating awareness about the usage of natural fertilizer and pest control, and growing more trees. Adopting a tree or growing more trees can be a community wide exercise which will lead to a huge positive impact.
Reconsidering the way we grow and consume food can help reduce the pressure on forests. Talking about how production of animal-based (livestock) foods is associated with high carbon footprint which contributes significantly to the acceleration of global climate change can help drive a change. Environmental issues such as global warming and climate change can be minimized by adopting vegetarianism or by lowering the consumption of meat and other animal based products.
Governments and communities can make fishing and mangrove harvesting more sustainable. They can properly treat sewage and other waste and stop plastic trash from entering the water. Coral reefs, mangroves and seagrasses must be carefully managed and actively restored so that oceans can continue to support billions of livelihoods globally. Recycling and waste management should be the criteria for evaluating a businesses success and laying stress on its importance can make communities/stakeholders more aware and can put required pressure on businesses to follow through.
Citizen groups and municipal authorities can clean up waterways, let bee-friendly plants grow and create urban woodland and other wildlife habitats in parks, schools and other public spaces. Mowing grass less frequently is cheaper for cities and allows nature to thrive. Permeable sidewalks and urban wetlands protect against flooding and pollution. Contaminated industrial areas can be rehabilitated and turned into places for nature and recreation.
Along with the above being an informed and aware consumer is the need of the hour, we should support engagements wherein we have a chance to contribute and are aware of the entire supply chain, this visibility should enable us to question what’s not right and steer it in the correct direction.
OurBetterPlanet plans to turn Restoration viral by:
- Announcing our restoration commitment or initiative on social media with the #GenerationRestoration hashtag.
- Take part in online discussions about restoration and post pictures and updates on our achievements.
- Get creative and organise an exhibition with our carefully selected sustainable business partners to celebrate #GenerationRestoration.
- Green our circles by asking friends, relatives and colleagues what they value about local ecosystems and discuss what can be be done to improve things. Encourage them to learn about ecosystems and their benefits and to join #GenerationRestoration.
- Raise our voice and take part in public forums and consultations and debates on managing and improving the local environment. Speak up in public and in private for the sustainable use of resources for the benefit of all, including future generations.
- Use our vote and support political parties and leaders with strong commitments to restoration, sustainable development and social justice, especially if they have kept past promises to prevent environmental degradation. Hold your leaders accountable!
Lets enable ourselves first and then expand the community by engaging and working towards the Restoration goal with like minded people!
** Excerpts from UNEP.org