TODAY -

Let's take action for our land and our future

Ranjan K Baruah *



We are always concerned about our air, water or simply our land and our environment. But the irony is that most of us are eco criminals as we are destroying nature for our own benefits.

Most of us would complain about rising temperature but when it comes to taking action we would take one step back. The fact is that rich people have mostly damaged the environment with unsustainable lifestyles. I am also to blame when it comes to destruction of our natural resources.

The global data says that every five second, the equivalent of one football pitch of soil is eroded. Yet, it takes 1,000 years to generate 3 centimeters of top-soil; trees in urban areas can cool the air by up to 5°C, reducing air conditioning needs by 25 per cent; lakes, rivers and wetlands hold 20-30 percent of global carbon despite occupying only 5-8 per cent of its land surface.

All over the world, ecosystems are threatened. From forests and drylands to farmlands and lakes, are reaching a tipping point. According to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, up to 40 per cent of the planet’s land is degraded, directly affecting half of the world’s population. The number and duration of droughts has increased by 29 per cent since 2000 - without urgent action.

Land restoration is a key pillar of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), a rallying call for the protection and revival of ecosystems all around the world, which is critical to achieve the SDGs.

This year the World Environment Day (WED) focuses on land restoration, halting desertification and building drought resilience under the slogan “our land, our future”.

This year will also mark the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. The sixteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) will be held in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, from 2 to 13 December 2024.

One of the global campaigns or activities carried out around the world is the celebration of WED. Led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and held annually on 5 June since 1973, WED is the largest global platform for environmental public outreach and is celebrated by millions of people across the world. In 2024, it will be hosted by Saudi Arabia.

We need urgent action to keep global warming below 1.5°C this century, we must halve annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Exposure to air pollution will increase by 50 per cent within the decade and plastic waste flowing into aquatic ecosystems will nearly triple by 2040.

The Secretary-General of the UN in his message said that “humanity depends on land. Yet, all over the world, a cocktail of pollution, climate chaos, and biodiversity decimation are turning healthy lands into deserts, and thriving ecosysterns into dead zones. They are annihilating forests and grasslands, and sapping the land to support ecosystems, agriculture, and communities.

“Countries must deliver on all their commitments to restore degraded ecosystems and land, and on the entire Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. They must use their new National climate action plans to set out how they will halt and reverse deforestation by 2030. And we must drastically scale-up finance to support developing countries to adapt to violent weather, protect nature, and support sustainable development”, he added.


* Ranjan K Baruah wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on June 10 2024.



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