INDIA: World Environment Day was established by the United Nations Assembly on 5 June 1972, the first day of the Stockholm Conference on the human environment, with a purpose to make the world aware of the threat to the environment due to rising pollution levels and climate change. Every year various themes are drafted and various countries host the day. The theme for 2021 is “Reimagine. Recreate. Restore” and Pakistan will be the host country for its official celebrations.
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This year on this occasion, UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), a global mission to revive billions of hectares, from forests to farmlands, from the top of mountains to the depth of the sea will also be launched. If every human on earth takes an oath to take part, it can help to combat climate change, end poverty, and prevent mass extinction.
Effect of COVID-19
The world has been dealing with a pandemic for almost 1.5 years now, and as we have all learned – how disastrous the consequences of ecosystem loss can be. If we keep on shrinking the natural habitat for animals and plants, we are sure to invite more viruses like coronaviruses to spread. Only by protecting ecosystems, we can ensure better human lives, their livelihoods, counteract climate change and stop the collapse of biodiversity.
REIMAGINE. RECREATE. RESTORE.
An ecosystem is defined as the interaction between living organisms – plants, animals, and people – with their surroundings. Unfortunately, for quite a long time, we have been exploiting and destroying the earth’s ecosystems. Research data says, every three seconds, the world loses enough forest to cover a football pitch, and over the last century, we have destroyed more than fifty percent of our wetlands. Forests, wetlands, marine life, ocean shores, coral reefs, mangroves, etc. are fast approaching extinction levels, and this will immensely deprive the world of carbon sinks.
It’s time now to stop all this and invest back in our ecosystems as this will be like investing in our future. A healthy ecosystem is essential for our survival. It’s a big challenge, and this year the main focus of World Environment Day is Ecosystem Restoration and its theme is “Reimagine. Recreate.Restore.”
Our role in Ecosystem restoration
This is our moment. We simply cannot turn back time, but we can vouch to grow trees, green our cities, rewild our gardens, change our diets and clean up rivers and coasts. We have an obligation to make peace with nature.
We should go back to nature rather than turning our back to nature, urged D P Sibal, an artist of international fame to everyone on the occasion of World Environment Day. Sibal says lessons should be learned from the lockdowns during the pandemic. We should rejoice to see how nature blossomed again and showed its vibrancy and beauty in different ways. “We saw the carbon footprint levels dropping down and bringing back pollution-free skies, birds chirpings that weren’t heard for a long time, and so much more. This all happened as the world came to a stop,” says Sibal. Asked what the pandemic taught him, he said many things, “One among them is if we reduce the carbon footprint the skies will once again illuminate with billions of stars we used to gaze upon as children and we will be able to pass on the same beauty of nature and environment to the generations to come.”