This is the first year of the UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration. The Decade officially launches on World Environment Day, June 5, 2021. It recognizes that ecosystems support all life and there is an urgent need to halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide (UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021).
This also promises to be the decade of ecocities and “urban transformations through nature-based solutions.” This will be the theme of the 14th edition of the Ecocity World Summit 2021 to be held in Rotterdam, September 27-29. The program convenor will be the University of Delft working with the City of Rotterdam.
An ecocity is an ecologically healthy city, and the foundation of the Ecocity Standards that help guide cities to become ecocities is the Ecological Imperatives pillar. It comprises ecological integrity, healthy biodiversity, and living within Earth’s carrying capacity.
Cities play an important role in protecting the health of local and global ecosystems. Many of the world’s cities are located in bio-diverse areas, often located along shorelines, close to river estuaries, or an oasis, with clean and safe water or fertile, healthy soils that can support agricultural production and access to healthy food.
At the heart of an ecologically healthy city are citizens who participate in a healthy culture. They understand the connections between the community in which they live and the global ecological commons upon which we all depend. These connections are made apparent through the practice of responsible use of resources and materials, clean and renewable energy, green buildings, and environmentally friendly transport. These bio-geophysical and urban design features help reduce demand for nature’s services by keeping our carbon and ecological footprints small. They also support the conditions needed to protect and restore the natural environment. Allowing the re-wilding of lands that have been degraded as a result of industrial, agricultural, or other human-made land-use changes.
When nature is given the chance to regenerate, miracles happen. Daylighting streams, regenerating soils, planting trees, fostering natural spaces in urban places to support pollinators, are all examples of the many types of nature-based solutions in the city that also support healthy biodiversity.
To learn more about the importance of nature-based solutions for urban transformations and to get involved in the #GenerationRestoration movement that supports the Decade for Ecosystem Restoration, check out these links and plan to participate in the Ecocity World Summit 2021. See you there!
UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. 2021. A decade on Restoration. Available online: https://www.decadeonrestoration.org/ (Accessed January 22, 2021).