June SDG: Life Below the Water, Life on Land
This month’s Sustainable Development Goal the Local Peace Economy is working on are threes: Goal 13 Climate change to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts on the other two SDGs; 14 Life Below Water, to conserve and sustainably use the world’s ocean, seas and marine resources and 15 Life on Land, to sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss. The oceans and the forest make the Earth habitable for humankind. Human activities: overfishing, deforestation, pollution, and climate change – pose major challenges to sustainable development and have affected the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. Investing in sustainable management practices is critical for improving livelihoods and reducing risks for the economy.
Oceans and forests are our planet’s life support by regulating the global climate system. Climate change with it shifting weather patterns and intensity of hurricanes – poses major challenges to life in the water and on land; including human being and all their mammal cousins who inhabit the earth’s oceans and forests.
Healthy oceans along with freshwater rivers and lakes are fisheries needed to feed the global population and support livelihoods of millions of people. Despite the critical importance of conserving oceans, decades of irresponsible exploitation have led to an alarming level of degradation in fish stock and critical habitat need for their replenishment, while pollution harms all things living in and on the water. Every year, an estimated 5 to 12 million metric tons of plastic enters the ocean, costing roughly $13 billion per year – including clean-up costs and financial losses in fisheries, tourism and other industries. About 89% of plastic litter found on the ocean floor are single-use items like plastic bags.
The oceans are absorbing the excess CO2 and heat in the climate system caused by human activities causing the oceans to warm and threatening the food supply, livelihoods, its rich eco-system and the global climate.
Forests cover nearly 31 per cent of our planet’s land area. They give life the air we breathe, by inhaling CO2 and exhaling oxygen, the water we drink, by holding water in land instead of it running off carry topsoil with it, forests sustain us. Clear cutting, over glazing causing desertification and land degradation is undermining the well-being of some 3.2 billion people in local communities around the earth and intensifying climate change.
While forest loss remains high, 2020 data show that the proportion of forests in protected areas and under long-term management plans increased or remained stable at the global level and in most regions of the world. Stable well-managed protected areas support healthy ecosystems, which in turn keep people healthy. Investing in sustainable management practices is critical for improving livelihoods and reducing risks for the economy. The involvement of the local communities is critical in the development and management of these protected areas to ensure a sustainable future and income for local people in the face of climate change.
Oceans and forests are linked together in a global climate system that sustains life on earth and underpins the basis for climate change adaptation and deliver benefits that will increase the resilience of people to the impacts of climate change. It is time to chart a sustainable recovery path that will ensure livelihoods for decades to come in harmony with the natural environment.
What can we do on the local level?
We can make ocean/forest-friendly choices when buying products or eating food derived from oceans or forests by selecting certified products and consume only what we need.
We should eliminate plastic usage as much as possible and organize and participate in beach clean-ups.
Vote for measures that protect, restore and promote sustainable local forests and coastal area. And that begin to integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into local and national planning and development processes.
Reduce our carbon footprint.
Most importantly, we can spread the message about how important oceans and forests are and why we need to protect them.
The Local Peace Economy joins the United Nations in its call for a Decade of Action to transform the world by 2030. The 2030 Agenda for 17 Sustainable Development goals, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. The spirit of human endeavor has demonstrated our shared ability to deliver the extraordinary. The Global Goals are our best hope-for people, for planet, for prosperity, for peace and for partnerships.
The Local Peace Economy calls on everyone everywhere to join us the UN and pledge: “We are resolved to a Decade of Action to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet. We are determined to take the bold and transformative steps which are necessary. As we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind.”
So, join us as we pledge to work urgently to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path of peace, that leaves no one behind.
To find out more about Goal #13, #14, #15 and the other Sustainable Development Goals, visit: http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment
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