The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is a global call to restore our degraded landscapes and protect our planet from the wrath of climate change. What can we do to support this initiative, and how is Greenstand contributing?
As societies continue to transition into the new year, global leaders are urgently preparing their citizens to mend the planet's fragility. With millions of lives on pause due to COVID-19, and our global ecosystems deteriorating by the second, the United Nations proclaimed their Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. This is a joint effort between the UN Environment Programme and UN Food and Agriculture Organization to rally global restoration participation and support. Communities worldwide are joining the mission to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change so that we can achieve global climate and sustainable development goals by the year 2030. It is crucial to raise awareness of the urgency to protect our planet, especially in the midst of a global pandemic. Preserving the environment also requires that governments develop policies to rehabilitate marine and coastal ecosystems and create environmental jobs for the post-COVID economy. Greenstand’s work is all about protecting our planet and its people, so we are beyond proud to support the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
Due to the pandemic last year, 22.2 million U.S. workers lost their jobs in March and April. Despite efforts to increase employment in 2021 by sustaining essential businesses, families are still struggling. Many of these lost jobs involved retail and hospitality, but investing in green jobs could change the economy's dynamic moving forward. Green jobs are much more than the cliche “reduce, reuse, recycle” practices we learned in school. There are about 11.5 million people employed in various sectors of the renewable energy industry. Prioritizing renewable energy in both developed and developing nations is a game-changer for employment recovery strategies.
The economy will prevail once more effort is put into employment opportunities, especially pouring funding into training employees for clean energy jobs. According to the International Renewable Energies Agency (IRENA), “renewable energies created more than 500,000 new jobs in the world in 2017, and it is estimated that the sector now employs more than 10 million people.” Training consists of developing specializations within a specific sector, such as solar panel or recycling plant technicians.
Despite recent studies showing a slight decrease in air pollution during lockdowns, there is concern for plastic and medical waste that is improperly disposed of as a result of the pandemic. For countries with severe COVID-19 outbreaks, it is becoming increasingly challenging to dispose of medical waste properly. The National Center for Biotechnology Information states, "while some countries or municipalities will manage alternatives to treat medical waste properly, others (with less economic and waste management resources) might be forced to apply inappropriate management strategies." We have yet to see the full extent of the environmental damage that this pandemic will cause.
Improper waste management adversely affects human health and the environment. High demand for single-use-plastics has also impacted terrestrial and aquatic environments. Many people have lost their jobs to the halting of recycling initiatives worldwide. Creating green jobs is essential in facilitating proper waste disposal during the pandemic as well.
In order to achieve long-term restoration targets, governments need to assess the damage that has already been done. The United States Department of the Interior explains damage inspections through the 2021 fiscal assessment towards restoration of natural resources. The Restoration Program analyzes environments impacted by hazardous waste, then creates restoration plans catered to improving public health and various ecosystems. Budgets are formulated and a Natural Resource Damage Fund aids trustees in supporting environmental responses. For example, performance indicators are also put into place by conservation bureaus. All restoration plans are required to undergo public review, and budgets from various levels of the government must be established. A performance summary is scheduled to track restoration success, and there are high hopes for targets to be met in 2021.
The newly inaugurated President of the United States, Joe Biden, signed an executive order on his first day in office to protect public health and slow the progress of climate change. The policy of this new administration is to support science and hold corporations and government leaders accountable. Policies made between January 20, 2017 and January 20, 2021 that do not comply with environmental protection will either be suspended or revised. This is just one example of the new administration’s commitment to climate action; the United States, which produces over 13% of the world’s CO2 emissions, is likely to begin demonstrating global climate leadership again in the coming months.
The mass distribution of stimulus packages and green recovery plans worldwide have set a standard for ethically improving employment rates. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in August 2020, "at least 30 OECD and Key Partner countries have included measures directed at supporting the transition to greener economies as part of their recovery programs or strategies." Financial aid and job creation that support restoration are vital to saving the economy and curbing the climate crisis. Managing invasive species that impact forest reforestation is also essential. Protecting the agricultural and food sector is vital to restoration. Monitoring success rates of restoration can also help leaders establish solidified policies in the future.
Recognizing the fragility of our planet's ecosystems is the first step towards reversing the crippling effects of climate change. Greenstand is happy to see the UN taking this initiative on & is excited to promote the Decade over the coming years. Greenstand’s Treetracker app can be used on nearly any forestation project by digitally storing data on who is responsible for the positive environmental impacts of each growing tree. Once the data is captured and uploaded by the tree grower, verified and post processed by the Greenstand team it then gets moved into digital Wallets in the form of Impact Tokens, which link tree growers to the donors who support them. These tokens can be traded or sold globally between Impact Wallet owners. This new connection with real world data attached is an exciting way for donors to view the environmental impact they sponsored. Greenstand is supporting the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration by rallying our global network and making global restoration easier and more transparent than ever before.
For more information on the UN Decade, check out the official website.
Communications & Marketing Intern