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The Complete Lowdown on World Environment Day

And how you can help.

We’re celebrating not one, but two major planetary events in the coming days: World Environment Day on Saturday, and World Ocean Day on Tuesday. So if there was ever a time to multiply your efforts towards helping the world, this is the week to do it.

June 5 is World Environment Day, the United Nations’ principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment. A vital platform for promoting progress on the environmental dimensions of the Sustainable Development Goals, it sees over 150 countries participate each year, with corporations, governments, non-governmental organisations, communities, and celebrities from across the world coming together to champion environmental causes.

THIS YEAR’S THEME: ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION

The theme of World Environment Day 2021 is Ecosystem Restoration, and June 5 will see the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which dedicates the years 2021-2030 to the prevention, halting, and reversal of the loss and degradation of ecosystems worldwide. Aiming to revive hundreds of millions of hectares, covering terrestrial as well as aquatic ecosystems, the UN Decade will draw together political support, scientific research, and financial muscle to massively scale up restoration in a global call to action.

WHAT IS ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION?

Ecosystem restoration is assisting in the recovery of ecosystems that have been degraded or destroyed, as well as conserving the ecosystems that are still intact. Healthier ecosystems with richer biodiversity yield greater benefits such as more fertile soils, bigger yields of timber and fish, and larger stores of greenhouse gases. Restoration can happen in many ways: by growing trees, greening cities, rewilding gardens, changing diets, or cleaning up rivers and coasts through actively planting or removing pressures so that nature can recover on its own.

And while it is not always possible – or desirable – to return an ecosystem to its original state, the restoration of 350 million hectares of degraded terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems could generate USD 9 trillion in ecosystem services and remove 13 to 26 gigatons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere between now and 2030. The economic benefits of such interventions exceed nine times the cost of investment, whereas inaction is at least three times more costly than ecosystem restoration.

WHAT IS THE UAE DOING TO PROTECT THE PLANET?

Here in the UAE, a variety of homegrown organisations are working towards restoring and conserving our environment, including AZRAQ (which focuses on the protection, defence and conservation of marine life) and the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD), which happens to be the largest environmental regulator committed to protecting and enhancing air quality, groundwater, and the biodiversity of Abu Dhabi’s desert and marine ecosystems in the region. Watch what EAD is doing in its mission to battle climate change and reduce marine plastic pollution, below. 

Watch The Video: The Battle Against Climate Change

At the current rate, it is estimated that there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050 – a terrifying statistic that leaves no time for inaction. And with the ongoing battle against climate change and the mission to reduce marine plastic pollution a priority, World Environment Day encourages everyone to look around and see what they can do to help restore the planet.

Whether you find a local beach clean-up to take part in, vow to reduce your use of single-use plastic, pledge to recycle more of your household waste, or become part of a tree-planting group, there are numerous ways to help save the planet – not just today, but every day. Using the hashtag #GenerationRestoration, the UN Decade is galvanising a global movement in which everyone can contribute to the mission. Visit the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration website to learn more.

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