This Saturday, June 5, is World Environment Day. This day was founded in 1972, and in the following years, a platform was created to raise awareness about the many problems facing the environment. Some of these problems include air pollution, plastic pollution, sea level increase and food security.
Every year, a theme is declared that focuses on one major issue. This year, it’s ecosystem restoration. The diversity and wellbeing of our ecosystems correlate with the health and wellbeing of the human population, through benefits such as more fertile soils, bigger yields of timber and fish, the storage of greenhouse gas emissions and more.
Ecosystem restoration ties in with the 17 United Nations Sustainable Goals in a number of ways. Two goals impacted by this year’s theme are “Life Below Water” and “Good Health and Well-Being.”
Restoration to ecosystems below water is important considering water covers 71% of the earth’s surface. Climate change already has significant impacts on oceans, and millions of tons of plastic waste is being dumped into the water — with detrimental effects on all ecosystems. If there are drastic changes to the ecosystems below water, there will be negative effects to human health and wellbeing. For example, seafood will become contaminated as animals consume the waste that’s piling up in the oceans. One slight change in the aquatic ecosystem can have a domino effect on all other ecosystems in the environment. With restoration to ecosystems below water, our oceans, land and air will be cleaner, and human health and wellbeing will flourish.
There are many subcategories of ecosystems that are being focused on this year for World Environment Day, like farmlands, forests, freshwaters, grasslands and savanna’s, mountains, oceans and coasts, peatlands and all urban areas. On the World Environment Day webpage, you can play a game and choose which ecosystem you want to learn more about, get updates on what is happening and pledge to act.
How you decide to commemorate World Environment Day this year — whether it’s educating yourself and others or taking actions to help make our ecosystems healthier — can have a lasting impact on not only the health and wellbeing of our planet but also all of the people living on it.