Conservation, then and now: Time to create awareness about protecting and conserving natural resources

Nature-based solutions have a resoundingly positive impact both for the planet and for local communities in developing countries. (Picture courtesy: IE)

It’s not a big secret that the future of our planet desperately needs to be conserved and safeguarded, because of the ongoing climate changes that are already wreaking havoc on our natural environment. Nature is the biggest tool in the fight against global warming. So, through conservation work and adopting nature-based solutions, we can fully utilize nature’s contribution to the mitigation action that is highly required to avoid a catastrophic increase in the temperature.

Not only this, one of the biggest reasons for conservation work is the impact that it has on human health, both in terms of preventing the emergence of new diseases, and in the production of medicines that we all rely upon. As humans developed and digitalized, communities became more mobile; this started causing an increase in numbers of species to become extinct. Does it really matter to think about the importance of nature conservation? The answer is a pretty obvious ‘Yes’.

Every species evolves to fill its particular niche and fulfill its responsibility in nature, but human activities started disrupting the entire cycle and now try to control the natural world. With the same thought in mind, World Nature Conservation Day is observed on the 28th of July every year. The sole purpose of this day is to create awareness about the importance of natural resources in the environment and how to keep it healthy and sustainable.

Amit Banka, Founder, WeNaturalists, states, “This decade of ‘generation restoration’ presents us with a unique opportunity to rebuild the world through our conservation efforts. And the tide is turning. We’re not just protecting large species and forests, etc. but degraded habitats as well – this critical shift is going to define our future. We’re moving towards involving communities including women and children, coping with biodiversity loss, and focusing on restoring ecosystems. For instance, Tanzania, Canada, Nepal, and many other countries across the globe have achieved remarkable success with community-based conservation already.”

Our planet is made up of a rich mosaic of ecosystems such as grasslands, mountains, forests, and oceans. To support a plethora of wildlife, ecosystems such as these provide food, shelter, and materials that are important for the survival of human communities across the planet. Damaging the ecosystems ultimately affects the economic and social sustainability of communities that are relying upon them.

“The manner in which human beings are using up the planet’s natural resources is unsustainable. One-third of the planet’s cultivable land is used to grow crops for feeding livestock. Animal agriculture uses up to 30 percent of the freshwater globally available for consumption. As the world population continues to grow at an alarming pace, if this trend of eroding natural resources continues, we will increasingly see droughts, hunger, and other effects of climate changes,” adds Bharati Ramachandran, Director Outreach, and Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO).

It is necessary to understand that we should start investing our time, money, and efforts to adopt those solutions in our day-to-day activities to control the overexploitation of natural resources. Nature-based solutions have a resoundingly positive impact both for the planet and for local communities in developing countries. While these solutions are available at a larger scale, they need to be executed at scale and with adequate support from developed and developing countries to make a tangible impact on climate change. These nature-based or ecosystem-based approaches hold the promise of delivering the biggest bang for securing nature because they conserve, restore or improve the use or management of natural ecosystems while increasing carbon storage, avoiding greenhouse gas emissions, and/or increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change.

“At WeNaturalists, we are working with various stakeholders in the city of Mumbai to create awareness around “urban-rewilding”. It’s not about simply planting a tree, we need to focus on drawing audiences to understand the science behind trees, its daily life references, and what, how, and where to plant. And we must ensure that the tree continues to grow to full maturity by adopting methods to reduce the mortality rate to less than 0.01%. Similarly, in each geography and ecosystem – unique nature-based solutions can bring about a revolution in the way we interact with nature. And that’s how we can truly honor and celebrate every day as World Nature Conservation Day.” Said Mr. Banka.

In order to preserve nature to lead a green sustainable life and keep it safe for future generations, we all need to reduce the harm that human activities have on our environment. And most importantly, we all need to start supporting the natural world as much as we can.

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