SDG 15, “Life on land”: how Millennials can help preserve forests and animals on earth
Do you enjoy a nice hike in the forest? A stroll in the countryside? A walk on the beach? Whether you do or not, it’s undeniable that the earth’s natural habitats play a huge role in our daily lives.
As a matter of fact, we are all part of the same great ecosystem and we all depend on forests as an essential source for the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink. Forests cover 31 percent of the earth’s land area and around 1.6 billion people worldwide depend on forests for their livelihood, which includes 70 million indigenous people.
Not only that; forests are also home to 80 percent of all terrestrial species of animals plants and insects. Unfortunately today, out of 8,300 breeds known, 8 percent are extinct and 22 percent are at risk of extinction. This is due to the fact that the world has lost over 12 million hectares of forest every year from 2000 to 2010. Therefore, deforestation has caused many discomforts, such as biodiversity loss, climate change effects and desertification.
So, SDG 15 is all about protecting, restoring and promoting a sustainable use of all terrestrial ecosystems, so that we can have a better future. Many companies worldwide are already adopting supply chain policies that promote the sustainable use of materials and sources, but there are things that we, as individuals, can bring forward in order to give our contribution. For example:
- Examine your everyday decisions and make sure that the companies you’re buying from are not engaging in harmful ecological practices. Buy eco-friendly products and recycle as much as you can.
- Do not buy products that are the result of illegal wildlife trade. Here is a list of species in danger of extinction because of this harmful practice (https://wildfor.life/the-campaign).
- Try to save as much paper as you can. And if you really have to use it, try using recycled paper. Also, switch to online bank statements and bills to reduce your use of paper.
- You can volunteer with organizations to plant trees and restore degraded ecosystems.
- You can join the UNEP’s Tunza Youth Network, which provides excellent resources and methods to collaborate with youth worldwide on environmental sustainability issues (http://drustage.unep.org/tunza/youth).
- You can support the WWF in one of their many campaigns to protect forests and wildlife worldwide (https://www.worldwildlife.org/).
As you can see, it takes very little to make a big difference, so you might as well give it a try and see for yourself! And, if you are already involved with this SDG, hurry and go check out our competition here: https://goo.gl/5LUfP2.
Cover cartoon credit: Sergio Algeri/GYV