How ecosystem restoration is so crucial especially in a post-COVID world?
By: Bikrant Tiwary
When the nation encountered repercussions of the novel corona virus for the first time, 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.
We have seen the environment begin to heal itself as movement and activity are restricted. 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.
An ecosystem is formed by the interactions of a variety of individual organisms with each other and with their physical environment. It is not entirely a biological entity. As a result, ecosystem restoration is required not only to improve or maintain biological diversity but also to prevent land degradation.
4.7 million hectares of forest are lost every single year: Report
Assuming the post-Covid scenario, the visuals of pollution, huge public gatherings, contaminated water, and destruction of nature do not seem bizarre and far-fetched. In such a situation, ecosystem restoration will be a strenuous task to achieve which all the more underlines its cruciality.
According to UNESCO, 4.7 million hectares of forest are lost every single year. It is expected that by 2050, 95% of Earth’s land will be degraded. A whopping 24 billion tons of soil has already been eroded as a result of unsustainable agricultural practices. Land degradation is the leading cause for the loss of imperative ecosystem functions such as nutrient cycling and climate regulation.
Ecological restoration is one of the most important and necessary endeavors of our time. Indigenous cultures are intimately connected to the land. The erosion of ecosystems not only results in the loss of culture but also erodes the knowledge that is deep-rooted and has evolved over a thousand years. Ecological restoration is vital to the health of many ecosystems and the livelihoods of communities across the globe.
‘Reversing the ecological crisis is upon us’
It is commonly believed that people who are closely connected to nature show a deep concern for its everlasting existence. They are more likely to engage with actions regarding wildlife conservation and the process of reuse and recycle. These are essential to reverse the ecological crisis that is upon us because our relationship with nature can only be improved through frequent engagement.
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.
With studies predicting a two-fold increase in the number of plastic debris by 2030, plastics have become a severe threat to natural ecosystems and human health. However, these predictions are only going to be aggravated by the excessive use of single-use plastics as a result of the COVID – 19 pandemic. Although the use of plastics in this situation was required to meet the increasing demand for masks, it is important to shift towards sustainable products such as bio-based plastics to reduce the stress on our ecosystems.
Need for more green spaces
Urban green spaces such as parks, gardens, riversides or lakesides, sports fields, woods provide ample space for physical activity, recreation, and respite from the heat. Green spaces in cities mitigate the effects of pollution and reduce the urban heat island effect which refers to the heat trapped in built-up areas.
The urban heat island effect appears in towns and cities as a result of human activity. Green spaces 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.
As we cope under the clasp of yet another lockdown, this time might be prudent to ruminate over how we can protect the ecosystems that sustain us. The climate crisis needs to be tackled with innovative and sustainable solutions so that we don’t have the fear of impending disasters looming over us. We need to be aware of our ecological footprint and take active measures to reduce it to ensure a greener and healthier future.
Reducing our impact on the environment is crucial
It is also important to consider that excessive pressure on our natural resources is primarily because of the population imbalance in our country. 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, homes, and lifestyle play a key role in determining our ecological footprint.
Grow-Trees.com believes that planting trees and preserving our existing forests is the simplest way to atone for the damage we’ve caused and mend our relationship with the environment. The organization offers an easy and cost-effective way to offset carbon emissions and contribute to socio-environmental systems through its popular concept of ‘Greet with Trees®️’.
This concept gives you an opportunity to plant trees in the name of your family, friends and colleagues, and dedicate them via eTreeCertificates®️ on special occasions. Mr. Bikrant Tiwary, the CEO of Grow-Trees.com says that the environment is in dire need of consistent and dedicated solutions so that we can retrieve plant and animal species from the brink of extinction and help different ecosystems to thrive.
‘Greet with Trees®️’, reduce the usage of paper, follow reuse and recycle and understand the need to offset our carbon emissions. Restoration of the environment and rehabilitation of our ecosystems can be achieved only when we stop looking for scapegoats and understand our responsibility to do our bit for the environment.
Bikrant Tiwary, an alumnus of IIM Calcutta and a Master's in commerce from Ranchi University, has over 20 years of diverse experience in insurance, media, and social sector. His exposure to the certificate program of Harvard Business School gave him a new vision to the business. He has been a winner of Silicon Valley Fellowship organized by AFI and has also been nominated by U.S. Consulate General Mumbai for their EcoHeroes campaign. Bikrant is the first CEO of Grow-Trees.com and the former National Head of GiveIndia, the largest philanthropic online platform. He had left his corporate career in 2010 with a passion to bring positive social changes to societyKnow More