Today is World Environment Day, and this year is particularly important as it marks the beginning of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. This is an unprecedented initiative at the highest level and speaks to the urgency of the problem that our world is facing, one that crosses political and regional lines and in time, will adversely affect each and every citizen of our world. We thought we’d take just a few minutes today and mark the occasion by having a quick look at what it means and what we can do.
What Is It?
According to UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, we are facing a three-fold threat to our environment; biodiversity loss, climate disruption and escalating pollution. He says that the ‘degradation of the natural world is undermining the well-being of 3.2 billion people, or 40% of humanity’ and that we are reaching the point of no return for our planet. Hence, the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, designed to bring together governments, businesses, societies and individuals to revive over planet over the next 10 years and go from exploiting the planet to healing it. We need to restore our oceans and rivers, replant our forests, green our cities, prevent further species loss and reduce our carbon emissions.
Whilst this information is rather sombering, we choose to focus on the positives – that there is a global movement committed to transformative change. It’s not too late, as long as we all come together and do our part.
What We’re Doing
So here at The Outdoors Group, what are we doing? As mentioned in our blog post on Earth Day, there are two strands to our efforts to make a difference in our own corner of the world. The first is by education and leading by example. A desire to instill a love of the environment underpins everything we do. By bringing children and young people from all walks of life into our natural outdoor settings, we believe that we can impress on them the importance of these spaces. In turn, we hope that this will result in them being active in protecting these woodlands and ecosystems as they leave us and make their own way in the world. We want to lead by example; by demonstrating our care for nature, we hope they will learn to do the same.
The second is by our own environmental goals as a company – to become carbon negative by 2030 and to become a registered B Corporation. Companies will have a large part to play in the next decade as society has to adopt new approaches to working and doing business in order to function in harmony with nature, rather than fighting against it. Our company may not be huge (yet!) but we hope that we can be an example to other local companies in the way we operate. The more businesses that stand up to unsustainable methods of working, the quicker change will take place.
Be Part of #GenerationRestoration
And for you, reading this at home? It may seem like too large a problem for one voice to have any impact. But there is plenty that we can do in our own homes and at our own computers to be part of this generation of restoration.
- Put your money where your mouth is. When spending money, choose ethical companies and options wherever possible. Enough people doing this will resonate with the big companies as they see what consumers want
- Sign petitions. They only take a few minutes and are proven to make an impact. Many environmental organisations have forms set up so you can email your MP with minimal effort. Tell the people in charge what you think, what you want them to do.
- Vote for sustainability at the polling booth. I know we’ve just had local elections but whenever you get the chance, vote for the people with a commitment to environmental protection
- Head over to the #GenerationRestoration website to see ideas for how ordinary people can contribute to rewilding outdoor spaces and greening the areas they live in
Finally, be willing to accept change. Business as normal cannot continue. The status quo cannot continue. Be part of the change. We need to be adaptable and willing to make compromises if we are going to truly make peace with nature and secure a better future for generations to come.
Author: Hannah Durdin, Forest School Leader & Content Officer
Date: Saturday 5th June 2021