World Environment Day 2021: Ecosystem Restoration
(by Devania Govender, Environmental Consultant at WKC)
For centuries, we have been exploiting and destroying our planet’s ecosystems. Did you know that every three seconds, the world loses enough forest to cover a football pitch and over the last century we have destroyed half of the earth’s wetlands? As much as 50 percent of our coral reefs have already been lost and up to 90 per cent of coral reefs could be lost by 2050 . The statistics on ecosystem destruction are in fact staggering.
History of World Environment Day
In 1972, the United Nations General Assembly designated 5 June as World Environment Day (WED). The first celebration, under the theme “Only One Earth” took place in 1974. WED was established to raise awareness about the various environmental problems facing our environment.
WED is one of the biggest annual events organised by the UN to generate awareness about the significance of nature and greenery. It aims to help drive change in consumption patterns and better national and international environmental policy.
Each year, since 1974, WED is celebrated under a specific environmentally focused theme. In 1987, the World Economic Forum decided to organize the WED celebration in different host countries. This year, the host country is Pakistan, and the theme is ‘Ecosystem Restoration’.
Reimagine. Recreate. Restore.
The facts: Ecosystem loss is depriving the world of carbon sinks, at a time when humanity can least afford it. Global greenhouse gas emissions have grown for three consecutive years and the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has also shown just how disastrous the consequences of ecosystem loss can be. By shrinking the area of natural habitat for animals, we have created ideal conditions for pathogens – including coronaviruses – to spread . The 2021 WED theme aims to prevent, halt and reverse ecosystem damage – to go from exploiting nature to healing it .
In response to the rapidly increasing effects of climate change and loss of biodiversity, and in line with WED 2021, the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration will be launched on 5 June 2021 to 5 June 2031.
From degradation to restoration
Investing In Ecosystem Restoration Is Investing in Our Future
Making ecosystem restoration a success involves a global scale effort to repairing billions of hectares of land. It means bringing back plants and animals from the verge of extinction, finding ways to prevent pollution, rewilding gardens and preventing the over use of natural resources. It is not only a change in current actions but involves a change in mindset for people of all generations. WED reminds us about the importance of the environment and that nature should not be taken for granted. It is, after all, the very basis of our existence.
From 4-5 June 2021, the official WED broadcast will host a Virtual Launch Gala welcoming the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration comprising of inspiring messages from world leaders, activists, celebrities, and musical performances as well as Pakistan’s host country programme. The page will be updated as each event takes place with videos and information. For more information and a direct link to the WED broadcast, click here.
Ecosystem by Ecosystem: This is what restoration can look like and how you can contribute
Did you know? WED even has an anthem, penned by poet Abhay Kumar. The anthem was launched back in June 2013:
Our cosmic oasis, cosmic blue pearl the most beautiful planet in the universe all the continents and all the oceans united we stand as flora and fauna united we stand as species of one earth different cultures, beliefs, and ways we are humans, the earth is our home all the people and the nations of the world all for one and one for all united we unfurl the blue marble flag
Join the conversation online on all social platforms using the hashtag #GenerationRestoration and #WorldEnvironmentDay.
For more information about our ecology department please visit our ecology services page by clicking here.
 G. E. Network, “Events: World Environment Day,” [Online]. Available: https://www.genevaenvironmentnetwork.org/world-environment-day/. [Accessed 2 June 2021].