When we encountered the first lockdown imposed as a result of the ravaging pandemic, the improving condition of our environment was the only silver lining amidst a sea of despair and anguish. Images of clear skies and waterways, dwindling road traffic and wildlife unfettered by human activity have been therapeutic, to say the least.
Despite these positive changes, the environment will continue to suffer once industries and travel ramp up. This World Environment Day recognizes the urgent need to restore and revive our damaged ecosystems to avert the possibility of yet another pandemic or similar disaster.
Considering the importance of ecosystems, restoration efforts have now found place in nature-based solutions to tackle the global challenges of climate change, natural disasters, and food and water security. In addition to this, it is also important to make sustainable efforts in developing a resilient landscape that can adapt to changing conditions.
The restoration of ecosystems is intrinsically linked to the restoration of human health. The Covid–19 pandemic is a poignant reminder of how ecological degradation can lead to a state of emergency. To combat these emerging global conditions and protect the lives of future generations, we need to protect and restore our habitats and biodiversity.
The most important step on the journey of ecosystem restoration is understanding how we can reduce our impact on the environment. Changes in our workplace, home, and lifestyle play a key role in determining our ecological footprint.
Setting up urban green spaces such as parks, gardens, riversides or lakesides, sports fields, woods is also an effective solution to mitigate the effects of pollution and reduce the urban heat island effect which refers to the heat trapped in built-up areas. These green spaces will also filter rain, reduce water pollution, protect drinking water, and decrease the rate of water-borne illnesses.
As citizens of a progressive nation, each one of us is responsible for the maintenance of such places. However, it is not feasible for the common man to get much work done without proper control and required facilities. It is for the same reason that the government should take adequate measures to preserve and protect these already established green spaces, and use their resources, time, and staff to monitor them effectively.
Today, we should encourage economic growth while easing the pressure on ecosystems and environment by investing in restoration. This will help us in converting degraded land into healthy and resilient landscapes. It is important that restoration efforts are sustained even after the pandemic to improve our environmental condition over the long-term.
Restoration efforts will not only give rise to more functional landscapes but also bring about other benefits such as livelihood and business opportunities.
(The writer is CEO of Grow trees.com
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