“Right now we have a window of opportunity that we can’t afford to miss. We must rediscover how to live in balance with nature and help to create a better world for ourselves and generations to come. What happens next is up to us.”
David Attenborough, A Life on Our Planet, 2021
In 1937 when David Attenborough was 11 years old it’s estimated that wilderness made up 66 percent of the earth. By 2020 that amount had reduced to 35 percent. In Australia in 2021 scientists identified 19 ecosystems that are already collapsing.
Just as humans need to make massive cuts to carbon emissions to prevent runaway climate change, we also need to halt ecosystem destruction and actively restore nature if we are to have a liveable earth. It is time to act in the realisation that humans are not separate from nature, we are dependent on it every day for our water, air, food and so much more. Furthermore, carbon sinks such as forests, seagrass beds, mangrove swamps, and soil, take carbon out of the atmosphere, so increasing their range is one of the solutions to climate change.
World Environment Day on 5 June 2021 heralds the start of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. It aims to stimulate a global movement to prevent, halt and reverse ecosystem degradation and create a sustainable future for all.
The United Nations (UN) estimates we have ten years to heal the planet. Its strategy for the decade identifies 10 actions to create change. These include supporting those who are already leading the change; shifting consumption patterns; building up the capacity of groups to engage in restoration; encouraging artists, storytellers and other creatives to join in and empowering children and youth to take part.
The Inner West is a very engaged community and there are many opportunities for people to join activities to increase green spaces, plant trees and clean up waterways.
If you want to know more join us on Friday 4 June at Marrickville Library Pavilion for a forum on Urban Ecosystem Restoration. Speakers will discuss the importance of ecosystem restoration globally, including in our cities, and share stories of restoration across Australia and the Inner West.
The speakers are:
- Ciaron Dunn, Aboriginal Landcare Officer, Cooks River Alliance
- Kevin Spence, who leads the Sustainability team at the United Nations Association of Australia
- James Bradley, critic and author of Clade, Ghost Species, and Honorary Associate of the Sydney Environment Institute at the University of Sydney
- Tealia Scott, Senior Natural Areas and Contracts Officer at Inner West Council.
If you can’t make it to the forum you can still be part of this growing movement.
What can you do?
- Learn about ecosystem restoration. David Attenborough’s A Life on our Planet is a documentary, a book and an inspiring place to start
- Attend a webinar on the Wonderful World of Spiders on Tuesday 15 May
- Read Council’s Nature for Backyards guide and improve biodiversity on your property
- Volunteer with a local habitat restoration group
- Have a conversation with others and share your knowledge and actions
- Let’s get active, not anxious. Let’s be bold, not timid. Join #GenerationRestoration