Monday, April 15, 2024

Five things the world is saying about ecosystem restoration

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The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration – set to launch during World Environment Day on 5 June – aims to rally citizens, governments and corporations around one common goal: preventing, halting and reversing the destruction of natural spaces.

The drive comes as experts warn that ecosystems around the world are facing collapse. The planet is losing 4.7 million hectares of forests every year – an area larger than Denmark – and over the past century, half of the globe’s wetlands have been drained.

“The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration’s mission is as important as it is daunting,” says Tim Christophersen, coordinator of the UN Decade with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

“How do we inspire people to take action and connect small steps into collective and transformative change?”

To answer this question, the team behind the UN Decade surveyed visitors to the initiative’s website, a group that included everyone from financiers to tree planters to environmentally conscious teenagers.

The survey has unearthed a wealth of information that will guide the UN Decade for years to come, says Christophersen. Here are five lessons that stood out.

1. Ecosystem restoration is a global mission

More than 2,000 people from over 140 countries responded to the survey.

While representation was mostly even across countries, some places saw above average participation, including Kenya, Nigeria, Mexico, Brazil, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America and India.

However, the vision of ecosystem restoration captivates people regardless of origin: 99 per cent said that they would like to take action in support of the UN Decade. 

2. Young people are all in when it comes to restoration

Perhaps the most surprising lesson so far was just how young respondents were. While ecosystem restoration has featured in scientific journals and environmental projects for almost 40 years, more than half of survey takers (57 per cent) were below the age of 34.

Youth are expected to play a vital role in restoration projects, like tree planting, under the UN Decade.

“Youth are now championing sustainability across the globe,” said Kudzanai Chimhanda, member of the Steering Committee of the UNEP Major Group for Children and Youth. “Empowering us will have a springboard effect to motivate more youth to join the movement of preserving and restoring ecosystems.” Read more…

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