TODAY -

We are #GenerationRestoration

Depiya Thoudam *



We cannot turn back time,
but we can grow forests,
revive water resources,
and bring back soils.

We are the generation that can make peace with land.
Our land, our future.
We are #GenerationRestoration
”,

with this slogan, United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP), is organizing the 2024 edition of World Environment Day with Saudi Arabia as the Host country under the theme “Land Restoration, Desertification and Drought Resilience”.

Land restoration is one of the main pillars of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), working on reviving all ecosystems all around the globe, thus supporting to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals.

After the United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) designated 5th June as World Environment Day in 1972, led by UNEP, we have been Celebrating World Environment Day every year from 1973, raising awareness and catalyzing actions towards safeguarding our planet.

The recent events of hailstorm, flash floods, landslides etc. in the state are some of the symptoms of climate change which the people of state have all encountered and cannot be ignorant of.

In one way or the other, these events have affected everyone in the state. So in the wake of this ever increasing climate change and environmental degradation, the importance of World Environment Day can never be overstated.

This 2024 World Environment Day is highlighting the urgent need to protect and restore land resources as the year is also marking the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

The UNCCD COP 16 Session is also taking place in Riyadh from 2 to 13 December this year.According to UNCCD, upto 40% of Earth’s land is degraded which is directly affecting half of the world’s population and threatening roughly half of global GDP which roughly amounts to US $ 44 trillion.

DLDD (Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought) caused primarily by various human activities and climate variations are an invisible crisis affecting people of the world. It is further said that restoring degraded land globally could lock away 3 billion tonnes of atmospheric carbon dioxide into the soil annually which can support the achievement of the 1.5°C target.

We humans have an inseparable relationship with land. We need fertile and productive land for many essential activities. Degraded lands are obstacles to the path of sustainable development. Degraded lands lead to poverty, poor health, biodiversity loss, forced migration, lowered resilience to climate change or natural disasters, food insecurity etc.

Through land restoration, we are reviving soil health of degraded soil and restoring habitats. This will in turn enhance biodiversity; restore ecosystem services; support ecosystem health and resilience.

Restored land acts as a carbon sink which will capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and thus helps in mitigating climate change by reducing greenhouse gases. Restored land also diversifies livelihoods and increases land productivity which in turn can provide many economic and social benefits to humans.

According to Inger Andersen, the Executive Director of UNEP, every dollar invested in restoration can bring up to US $ 30 in ecosystem services. Further he said that restoring 15% of already degraded land and halting further conversion to degraded land could avoid upto 60% of expected species extinction.Environment conservation is not a one-day event but it is a lifelong commitment.

Keeping in mind that every small action counts when it comes to environment protection and together we can make a significant impact, let's come together to preserve this planet we call “home”. The health of our environment hinges on our daily actions and choices.

So, let us strive to make all our actions and choices as eco-friendly as possible.

Let this day be the starting point for embracing the principles of sustainability, stewardship and harmony with nature.


* Depiya Thoudam wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on 04 June 2024

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