The UN has nominated the years 2021-2030 the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration
Restoring all kinds of ecosystems and degraded land in particular shall help both provide a massive amount of ecosystem services and remove up to 26 gigatons of greenhouse gases from the air.
The dedication of 2021-2030 to certain themes is more ideological than practical. The fact that the next decade has been declared the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration means that more attention and sponsorship will be given to projects related to this topic. At the end of the decade such tasks must be accomplished:
Anything from planting coral on the seafloor or ocean floor and revitalizing hillside vegetation to large-scale restoration of a plateau or mountain range landscape is ecosystem restoration. It manifests itself in actions as varied as creating new mangroves, agroforestry, measures to improve soil and water quality, and even making urban economies more sustainable.
Every government, community, conservation organization, and private enterprise will play a role in achieving the goals of the Decade. Any degraded ecosystem, including agricultural areas, savannahs, wetlands, protected reserves, fisheries, managed plantations, riverbanks, coastal areas, and many others, can offer opportunities for restoration. FAO) and UNEP, both UN agencies, as well as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with the Global Landscapes Forum, will help realize these goals.
Scientists say the next 10 years will be the most important in the fight to prevent climate change and to combat the extinction of millions of species. The UN Decade Strategy suggests 10 actions that can build #GenerationRestoration:
1. Empower yourself.
The main goal of the UN Decade is to stop and reverse the destruction and degradation of billions of hectares of ecosystems. This is not an easy task. The situation is even more challenging, given the enormous diversity of ecosystems and the threats they face: from lush forests threatened by illegal logging and wildfires, to agricultural soils so eroded that they will yield crops for a couple of years at most. No one organization can determine where to go, so the UN Decade is designed to be a cooperative effort: groups and individuals can learn about the opportunities for ecological restoration in their area. They can join an initiative already underway or start their own.
2. Help fund projects
Restoration requires resources. Organizations that operate on the ground are often unfunded or face prolonged financial instability. While the benefits of recovery far outweigh the costs, an initial investment of billions of dollars is needed. Governments, international lenders, development agencies and private businesses will have to step up their support. People may consider donating their time or their expertise to a worthy initiative.
Agricultural and fishing subsidies, which are often used to fund environmentally indefensible projects, can be used to support restoration. In the long run, healthier ecosystems can bring more crops, more reliable income, and a healthier environment for people.
4. Be proactive.
In recent years, we’ve seen incredible momentum for restoration. Trillion tree planting campaigns have inspired many, and companies have banded together to hold mass planting festivals. As part of the Bonn Challenge, more than 60 countries have pledged to bring 350 million hectares of forested landscapes back to life. The UN Decade will encourage initiative and encourage others to be more proactive.
5. Change your consumption habits
Although ecosystem restoration is site-specific, the forces causing ecosystem destruction are often linked to global trends. Deforestation, food stock depletion, and agricultural soil degradation are all caused by global consumption patterns. The UN Decade will strive for the practice of mindful consumption. This can be as much about changing diets as it can be about popularizing processed foods.
6. Invest in research
Practices that work in one ecosystem can cause adverse effects in another. As the climate changes, new uncertainties arise, and a return to the old one can lead to high temperatures or changing rainfall patterns requiring new crops. The scientific understanding of how to restore and adapt ecosystems is still evolving, so significant investment is needed to determine the best methods for restoring our planet, one site at a time.
7. Build capacity
The UN urges everyone — absolutely everyone — who is already working to restore the planet’s ecology to keep going and work even harder.
8. Embrace the culture of restoration
Revitalizing the environment is a cultural challenge. That’s why the UN Decade strategy encourages artists, storytellers, producers, musicians, and partners to join #GenerationRestoration.
9. Shape these ideas in the minds of the younger generation
It is young people and future generations who will suffer the most from the consequences of the current rapid destruction of ecosystems. The UN Decade Strategy makes a direct link between the well-being of youth and the goals of restoration. Education for recovery will turn today’s children into ecosystem ambassadors, give them the skills to work sustainably, and ensure that the achievements of the UN Decade will survive its timeline.
10. Listen and learn
Also, look for additional ways to help your projects.
The environmental organization Germanwatch