June 5, 2021

World Environment Day 2021

World Environment Day’s theme this year states it’s not enough anymore to set aside land and protect species – we have to start actively restoring the environment. World Environment Day 2021 calls for urgent action to revive our damaged ecosystems with the theme of “Ecosystem Restoration” and the launch of UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration:

While a decade sounds like a long time, it is these next 10 years that scientists tell us matter most in preventing catastrophic climate change and bending the curve on biodiversity loss. Ecosystems support all life on Earth. The healthier our ecosystems are, the healthier the planet - and its people. The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration aims to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on every continent and in every ocean. It can help to end poverty, combat climate change and prevent a mass extinction. It will only succeed if everyone plays a part.

10 Ways to Help Restore the Environment

  1. Hold your elected representatives accountable for taking action on behalf of ecosystems and biodiversity. We have petitions with pre-written language you can use to get started and then you can visit Defenders’ Activist Hub to take the next step.
  2. Help with a community science project like eBird, iNaturalist or Defenders’ iBeaver. Researchers rely on data collected by community scientists to recommend protections for important habitats. 
  3. Convert your home to use renewable energy. 
  4. Plant native species to turn your backyard into habitat for your neighbors in nature, especially pollinators like bees and butterflies.
  5. Use your purchasing power to buy shade-grown coffee, use a guide like the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch for seafood and wean yourself off products that contain palm oil. See if the brands you use sustainably source their ingredients. If they don’t, write (or tweet) and ask them to commit to it. Buy local to help alleviate greenhouse gas emissions from shipping and transportation. 
  6. Reframe your lawn. Liberating lawns from dependence on chemicals like herbicides and synthetic fertilizers is an important first step toward making the whole landscape more climate-wise. And you can replace your lawn with options that don’t require trimming and mowing like a wildflower meadow. Or save water and protect your watershed by putting in a raingarden.
  7. Participate in Farm Bill programs like the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) to apply a conservation ethic across your agricultural operation. CSP offers five-year payments to producers who take on highly beneficial conservation practices on their farms like creating monarch butterfly habitat, protecting wildlife corridors, restoring riparian forest buffers and installing wildlife friendly fencing.
  8. Build and install bird houses in spring to provide nest locations for migratory birds that come to your area to breed and lay eggs.
  9. Visit your local land conservancy, land trust, open space or nature preserve and volunteer your time for restoration projects.
  10. Now is an important time to stay informed – sign up to get Defenders’ emails so you can learn more from our experts, take action and engage on ecosystem restoration and species recovery.
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CSU student clubs and polar bear
Image Credit
Avery Kayle
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Solar panels in yard
Image Credit
Kent Wimmer/Defenders of Wildlife
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Climate Strike DC - Kid with globe Capitol Lawn
Image Credit
Megan Joyce/Defenders of Wildlife
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Citizen scientists observing the Turnagain Arm in search of belugas.
Image Credit
Defenders of Wildlife
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Karner blue butterfly on greenery
Image Credit
Jill Utrup/USFWS

REIMAGINE. RECREATE. RESTORE.

This is our moment. Never think you can’t make a difference or that it’s somebody else’s problem to solve.

We cannot turn back time. But we can grow trees, green our cities, rewild our gardens, change our diets and clean up rivers and coasts. We are the generation that can make peace with nature.

Let’s get active, not anxious. Let’s be bold, not timid.

Tell us why World Environment Day is important to you and make a commitment to be part of the change! 

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