World Environment Day celebrates positive environmental action on 5 June every year.

In the lead up to World Environment Day, the UN is featuring updates from United Nations System, from partners and from others helping to call attention to the fact that the future of humanity depends on action now. Tune in for their fascinating series of live and recorded blogs here.

This year’s theme, Ecosystem restoration, calls for action to revive our damaged ecosystems.

Ecosystem restoration is defined as a process of reversing the degradation of ecosystems, such as landscapes, lakes and oceans to regain their ecological functionality; in other words, to improve the productivity and capacity of ecosystems to meet the needs of society. This can be done by allowing the natural regeneration of overexploited ecosystems, for example, or by planting trees and other plants. Ecosystem restoration can take many forms:

  • Growing trees
  • Greening cities
  • Rewilding gardens & increasing backyard biodiversity
  • Changing diets
  • Tackle food waste
  • Cleaning up rivers and coasts

Ecosystem restoration is fundamental to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, mainly those on climate change, poverty eradication, food security, water and biodiversity conservation.

In March 2019, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2021-2030 the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, aiming to massively scale up the restoration of degraded and destroyed ecosystems as a proven measure to fight the climate crisis and enhance food security, water supply and biodiversity. According to the United Nations, restoration could remove up to 26 gigatons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere1.

All kinds of ecosystems can be restored, including forests, farmlands, cities, coasts, wetlands and oceans. The vitality and diversity of Earth’s ecosystems are the basis of human prosperity and well-being. Restoration initiatives can be launched by almost anyone, from governments and development agencies to businesses, communities, and individuals. That is because the causes of degradation are many and varied and can have an impact at different scales. You can learn about different categories of ecosystem, their main components, current status and major threats, as well as the benefits of restoring them here.

The Ecosystem Restoration Playbook is a practical guide to healing the planet. In the playbook, you can choose your ecosystem and find a way to support Ecosystem Restoration. The playbook also outlines three pathways to join the movement and improve the well-being of people and nature:

  1. Taking action
  2. Making smart choices
  3. Raising your voice for restoration

This is the generation that can make peace with nature. Let’s get active, not anxious. Let’s be bold, not timid. Click here for 10 actions in the strategy of the UN Decade that can build a #GenerationRestoration.

You can view the 2021 official schedule of events hosted by UNEP and Decade Partners here.

Image credit: Josh Withers from Unsplash

 

Resources:

  1. https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/press-release/new-un-decade-ecosystem-restoration-offers-unparalleled-opportunity

About Having a Sustainable SWOTVAC

Maintaining your physical and mental health during busy and stressful periods of life is really important. This SWOTVAC, UQ Sustainability has worked alongside UQ Life, UQ Wellness, and Bicycle Queensland to bring you a range of events targeted towards promoting a sustainable study and exam period. With World Environment Day around the corner (June 5th), this SWOTVAC program features the emerging themes of…

  • Sustainability and environmental consciousness
  • Ecosystem Restoration
  • Stress management techniques
  • Mindfulness

We believe that whilst caring for the planet, we simultaneously nurture ourselves, supporting the synergetic relationship between the overall health of people and the environment.

Take a short break from your studies, stretch your legs, and join us online and in-person for a range of events! From a gentle walk around campus to learn about the different facilities, initiatives, sites, and other cool things dedicated to sustainability at UQ, to a mindfulness session, to a Bicycle Maintenance Workshop, to a Webinar, to online resources, we have you covered! Check out our schedule below!

View the full SWOTVAC program here.

Wellness Resources

On top of the exciting events throughout the week, we have also put together a range of resources that may be useful.

UQ Student Services have a range of self-help resources where you can learn strategies to help improve your mental health, personal relationships and physical health. Included in the many resources, is a page dedicated specifically to exam-anxiety.

There are a range of Aps that you can download that assist with managing stress and anxiety, such as ReachOut Breathe, Smiling Mind, and Headspace. Recharge - Move Well, Sleep Well, Be Well is a personalised six-week program that helps improve your general health and wellbeing by focusing on four key areas:

  1. A regular wake and sleep time each day, achieved gradually over six weeks;
  2. An alarm clock that triggers fun activities designed to get you up and out of bed;
  3. Increasing your exposure to daylight early in the day, to help reset your body clock; and
  4. Encouraging you to increase physical activity, especially within two hours of waking up.

Our Green Ambassador Program Community also shared their ideas as to how we can show ourselves, and the planet, some love naturally. Read their DIY: Beautiful sustainable self-care’ article to learn more.

For more information and resources, visit UQ Student Services’ website.