Poachers in Africa are encroaching on wildlife land and killing rhinos in travel hot spots now devoid of visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic.
2015 is the International Year of Soils
Soil provides us with our livelihoods and protection. The United Nations declared it the protagonist of 2015 in order to spotlight risks threatening it.
We exploit, contaminate, and ruin it; still, it keeps providing us with food, fibres, fuels, and medical products. Soil plays an essential role for biodiversity and ecosystems survival, and it is the biggest carbon storage. Moreover, it stores and filters water, helping to face flooding and droughts, thanks to its natural resilience.
In order to protect this extraordinary resource, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared 2015 to be the International Year of Soils, with the aim of raising people’s awareness on its vital importance for our health, as well as that of the planet.
Soil is a precious but non-renewable resource, reason why the FAO and the United Nations invited single countries to support a sustainable use of soils. Different factors are currently threatening them, such as the traditional agriculture.
“Our present ways of agriculture are not sustainable, and so our food supply is not sustainable. We must restore ecological health to our agricultural landscapes, as well as economic and cultural stability to our rural communities,” said Wes Jackson, president of The Land Institute.
Globally, two-third of the cultivable land is destined to monocultures and annual cultures, contributing to dramatically impoverish soils and reduce biodiversity. Such traditional agricultural techniques are usually combined to an extensive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides that alter soil composition and threaten its health.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) underlines the relationship between the International Year of Family Farming (2014) and the current International Year of Soils. Family and agriculture have been all along been closely linked. Farmers depend on soils, as much as soils depend on farmers. We need both of them in order to maintain a healthy planet and ensure food security.
Actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio has contributed two million dollars to a fund to protect Virunga National Park in Congo from threats such as terrorism, the coronavirus and poaching.
Bangladesh suffered widespread damage as a result of Cyclone Amphan. Yet the Sundarbans mangrove forest acted as a natural barrier protecting the country from further destruction, as it has done countless times before.
For the first time in seventeen years, Iceland’s two main whaling companies won’t resume whale hunting. The announcement concerns this year’s season but could carry into the future.
The relationship between the coronavirus and wildlife is complex: while the pandemic may lead to a reduction in the illegal trade in wild animals, it may also encourage it in other respects.
The largest coral reef in the world is severely threatened by climate change, but researchers are developing strategies that could contribute to saving the Great Barrier Reef.
NGO Free the Bears has opened a mountain sanctuary for moon bears in Laos. With the government’s help, it aims to close all bile farms by 2022.
The Covid-19 pandemic is a planetary wake-up call from the Earth to humanity. On Earth Day, over 500 organisations launched a global call for urgent action with the health and wellbeing of all peoples and the planet at its core.
Pollution in India has fallen drastically without the fumes of cars and factories. It’s been thirty years since the Himalayas were last visible from such a distance.