World Environment Day was marked this week

World Environment Day is on the 5th June annually. This year the focus is on combating land degradation and restoring damaged landscapes. #GenerationRestoration aims to encourage everyone alive right now to play their critical role for the future of the planet. The aim of the day is to spread the word and give people ideas on how they can help end land degradation and help to restore landscapes. While governments and businesses have a leading role in reversing damage it cannot be done without people taking action as well.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has outlined 7 actions that can help.

Seven ways to restore land, halt desertification and combat drought (unep.org)

  1. Make agriculture more sustainable – agricultural producers receive $540 billion a year in subsidies, governments can focus these on sustainable practices. Consumers can purchase regional, seasonal and plant rich diets and chose more soil-friendly foods.
  2. Save the soil – 60% of all species live in soil and 90% of our food is produced from soil. Healthy soils are carbon sinks and governments should support organic and soil friendly farming. Where possible individuals can purchase organic foods, waste less food and compost raw fruit and vegetable scraps.
  3. Protect pollinators – 3 out of 4 crops producing fruit and seeds need pollinators. Insects, butterflies, birds and beetles and bats all help with this task. We need to reduce air pollution and the impact of pesticides and fertilizers and conserve wetlands, hedgerows, meadows and woodlands. We have nearly 2 million gardens in Ireland, mowing less, native planting, planting pollinator flowers and creating small ponds would have a very positive impact.
  4. Restore freshwater ecosystems – a clean water supply is essential for all life. Everyone pollutes water so using less clean water, reducing chemical and single use plastics is a first step. If using waterways practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of invasive species.
  5. Renew coastal and marine areas – oceans provide oxygen, food and water and mitigate climate change. Ireland has committed to protecting 30% of our marine area, we need this to happen as soon as possible to protect species. Preventing agricultural runoff is essential to protect coastal zones from nutrient enrichment also.
  6. Bring nature back to cities – nearly 2/3 of the Irish population live in urban areas. Cities globally produce more than half the global waste. Increasing green and blue spaces in urban areas is smart as these create sustainable drainage systems that can assist with climate change impacts of flood and drought and improve the well-being of residents.
  7. Generate financing for restoration – investments in nature-based solutions need to double to meet the world’s climate, biodiversity and ecosystem restoration goals. Governments and businesses have the power to do this, the population needs to use their money wisely to support social enterprises and environment-friendly businesses.

More information:

World Environment Day

Antonio Guterres’s Address for World Environment Day

A Moment of Truth: Special Address on Climate Action by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres (American Museum of Natural History, New York) | UN Web TV

World Environment Day was marked this week

World Environment Day is on the 5th June annually. This year the focus is on combating land degradation and restoring damaged landscapes. #GenerationRestoration aims to encourage everyone alive right now
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