05 June 2021

World Environment Day 2021: Ecosystem Restoration

Today, 5 June 2021, is World Environment Day (WED)!

This day was proclaimed for the first time in 1972. Between 5 and 16 June of that year, the first conference on environmental issues was held in Stockholm, Sweden. The aim of the conference was to forge a basic common outlook on how to address the challenge of preserving and enhancing the human environment.

The day was chosen by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution (A/RES/2994 (XXVII)) of December 15, 1972, which called for strong cooperation between governments and international organizations to undertake on that day every year world-wide activities reaffirming their concern for the preservation and enhancement of the environment, with a view to deepening environmental awareness and to pursuing the determination expressed at the Conference.

In the same year, the General Assembly established the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the specialised agency on environmental issues that helped a lot in promoting awareness on climate change.

Environmental protection is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda, which dedicates one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), number 15, to this theme. Protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

WED 2021: the focus of this year

World Environment Day 2021 this year for its official celebrations, calls for urgent action to revive our damaged ecosystems. The major goal is to prevent, stop and reverse the damage inflicted on the Planet's ecosystems, seeking to move from exploiting nature to healing it.

An ecosystem is the fundamental ecological unit, a community of living organisms of different species living in a particular place and physical environment. Relationships are established between the organisms of an ecosystem and the environment, resulting in a continuous exchange of matter and energy. Every day we unconsciously enjoy the benefits of natural ecosystems.

Unfortunately, the world's ecosystems are in great danger. Around one million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction. Until a few months ago, several studies estimated that between 20 and 50% of ocean and coastal ecosystems were already damaged. But a new study, published in the journal Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, has revealed a more tragic scenario: only 3% of the world's landmass would be ecologically intact, with a healthy population of all its original animals and an unviolated habitat.

A restoration economy would also create millions of green jobs and increase humanity's resilience to future shocks and stresses. By revitalising farmland, grasslands, forests, wetlands and peatlands, we rebuild their carbon-storing capacity. It will also protect habitat for biodiversity, increase soil fertility, reduce water scarcity and help protect the world from epidemic diseases, such as Covid-19.

GEYC’s action in supporting the battle to protect the environment

GEYC has been committed to the international environmental guidelines for 10 years and follows the precepts of the Sustainable Development Goals in all its projects and initiatives. The promotion of environmental protection is part of our principles in improving youth skills to help advance SDGs and motivate the youngsters to get active in the battle against climate change. Among all the activities undertaken we would like to mention that: