Saturday, June 5, 2021

Ecosystem restoration is the theme of World Environment Day 2021

Happy World Environment Day!
June 5, every year is celebrated as World Environment Day or WED. The day is set aside to encourage awareness and action to protect the natural environment. It draws attention to environmental issues such as marine pollution, air pollution, deforestation, and wildlife crime such as poaching.

Each year, WED has a new theme that major corporations, communities, governments, and celebrities adopt to advocate environmental causes.
While I mentioned last year's theme, biodiversity, and its slogan "time for nature," I focused on the effect of the pandemic on the environment. This year, I'm following more closely with the theme of ecosystem restoration. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) began promoting the theme last September, when it uploaded UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration: 10 years to heal the planet.

On 15 September 2020, UNEP and FAO launched the strategy guiding implementation of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030, led by the United Nations Environment Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and partners covers terrestrial as well as coastal and marine ecosystems. A global call to action, it will draw together political support, scientific research and financial muscle to massively scale up restoration.
That's literally the global overview. What does that look like on the ground? The United Nations Environment Programme uploaded several videos on that topic this week, including Restoration in California showing efforts in my former home state.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)’s North America Office and the government of California showcase California’s commitment to restoration in this new video which aims to show what restoration looks like in North America - emphasising how local solutions can have a big global impact.
This clip reminds me of topics I've blogged about before. Loren Poncia, co-owner of the Stemple Creek Ranch, resembles Joel Salatin in his belief that sustainable agriculture can help heal the planet. That's a good thing. Dos Rios Ranch at the confluence of the Tuolumne and San Joaquin Rivers reminds me that I blogged about the San Joaquin, America's most endangered river seven years ago. I don't know about the rest of its course, but it looks like this portion is being better cared for.

Switching to the other coast, UNEP uploaded The Living Shoreline - Building a resilient waterfront in Manhattan last month as part of its observance for today.

Restoring a park and wetlands in Northern Manhattan. New York Restoration Project believes that access to nature is a fundamental right. Since its founding in 1995 by Bette Midler, NYRP has planted trees, renovated gardens, restored parks, and transformed open space for communities throughout New York City’s five boroughs.

As New York’s only citywide nature conservancy, it brings private resources to spaces that lack adequate municipal support, fortifying the City’s ageing infrastructure and creating a healthier environment for those who live in the most densely populated and least green neighbourhoods.

The 25-year-old non-profit nature conservancy oversees 80+ acres of parkland and 52 community gardens throughout New York City.
The work comes on the eve of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030, a 10-year push to revive the natural world that launches on 5 June 2021, World Environment Day. Led by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Decade is designed to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide. It will draw together political support, scientific research and financial muscle to scale up restoration and revive millions of hectares of land and marine ecosystems.
First, I didn't know that Bette Midler was also an environmental activist, which means that I learned something new, making today a good day. Second, while I haven't written about restoring oyster reefs before, I did include a video about restoring blue mussel beds in New York Harbor in PBS NewsHour on Hurricane Sandy one year later. As a malacologist, a biologist who studies mollusks, I couldn't resist that story or this one.

I'll return with more about the environment on World Oceans Day. Until then, stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature.

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