World Environment Day: UN to launch Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
By Gabrielle Stannus
This year, World Environment Day (5 June) will see the launch of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Find out what this could mean for the greenlife industry and how you can get involved.
This year, World Environment Day will see the launch of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Whilst this global program aims to halt ecosystem degradation, it could also provide the greenlife industry with growing opportunities.
Since 1974, World Environment Day has been celebrated annually on 5 June, engaging governments, businesses and citizens to address pressing environmental issues.
The United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration will run from 2021-2030. Image: United Nations
In 2021, World Environment Day will kick off the United Nations (UN) Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.Led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration aims to halt ecosystem degradation and restore them to achieve global goals.
The UN Decade will run from 2021 through to 2030, which is also the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals and the timeline scientists have identified as the last chance to prevent catastrophic climate change. The United Nations claims that ecosystem restoration and other natural solutions can deliver one third of the mitigation needed by 2030 to keep global warming below 2°C while also helping societies and economies adapt to climate change1.
The value of ecosystems to the well-being of humans and other species is well-documented. Forests provide drinking water to one-third of the world’s largest cities; whilst also supporting 80%, 75% and 68% of all amphibian, bird, and mammal species, respectively2. However, the world is losing 10 million hectares of forests annually, an area the size of the Republic of Korea3. Every three seconds, the world loses enough forest to cover a football pitch and over the last century we have destroyed half of our wetlands4 .
Ecosystem restoration can provide benefits and services essential to physical and mental health. Image: United Nations
The United Nations claims that opportunities for restoration can be found on 2 billion hectares of deforested and degraded forest land worldwide, an area larger than South America5.
What does this mean for the greenlife industry?
The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration will help to heal our planet whilst potentially enabling the greenlife industry to achieve its vision of "A resilient and adaptable industry where businesses are empowered to enrich lives through a commitment to liveable cities, healthy environments and food security.”
The United Nations claims that half of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is dependent on nature and every dollar invested in restoration creates up to 30 dollars in economic benefits6. In Australia, restoration opportunities associated with this decade may help the greenlife industry to reach its goal of producing 3.3 billion plants with a nursery gate value of $4.3 billion by 2040 (up from 2.03 billion plant with a value of $2.4 billion).
To capitalise on this momentum, Greenlife Industry Australia must continue to advocate to governments and influencers to obtain win-win outcomes for both this industry and the environment.
How you can get involved
In the meantime, whether you are a grower, retailer or other greenlife professional, here are some ideas to help you celebrate the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration this World Environment Day:
Consider making a tax-deductible donation to a deductible gift recipient (DGR) to protect our environment, e.g. Planet Ark’s annual One Million Trees campaign or Greening Australia’s landscape restoration work, e.g. Project Phoenix
Provide free plants and/or other materials or support to those individuals and groups participating in ecosystem restoration work, e.g. ‘Friends of ...’ groups
Hold workshops to inform and educate your customers on how they can contribute to ecosystem restoration, i.e. how to grow plants indigenous to your local area
Use the hashtags #WorldEnvironmentDay, #GenerationRestoration and #BuildBackGreener from #COVID on your social media to spread the word. Remember to tag the UNEP and FAO
Support urban community gardens (hashtag #urbanagriculturenetwork)