On the 5th June this year, the United Nations launched the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration 2021 – 2031. This has been given the priority it deserves as it is vital that we must immediately protect the habitats and ecosystems we have left and restore them on a large scale everywhere.
You might ask what biodiversity & ecosystems do for us? Biodiversity is the very life support system on our planet earth. Biodiversity gives us the air we need to breathe, soil to grow food and other plants, water for all life and the filtration systems to clean it, nutrient recycling, flood defenses, holds viruses and other diseases in situ, gives protection from extreme weather events, gives beauty and inspiration, spiritual connection, culture and so much more…..
In Ireland, these ecosystems and habitats include our precious trees, woodlands, thickets, forests, hedgerows, soils, meadows and grasslands, waterways, wetlands, bogland, uplands, seas, oceans, air and the sky above us.
This seems so big, it can feel overwhelming – What can I do to make a difference?
Start by getting to know the nature that is on your doorstep, in your community, in your local habitat. Change our minds about what is a ‘weed’ and what looks wild or messy Change the language we use in relation to plants and habitats. Who decides what is beautiful?
Start to think like creatures and plants and see the world from their perspective, particularly in the concrete jungles and farmland deserts. How can they travel around, get food and water and find their mates and keep their family safe? They have the same needs as we do!
Switch on our plant eyes, as ‘#plantblindness’ is very common, with very little knowledge of the names and value of the plants that are growing all around us.
Focus on protecting and restoring habitats in our own gardens and community. Create more natural habitats, by planting native trees, hedges, woodlands, ponds for wildlife.
Connect these habitats together with #EcologicalCorridors.
Plant for wildlife and always have three reasons for every plant choice you make. Grow some herbs, fruit, food. Learn how to make compost. Learn how to mulch (we will come back to this!). When we are gardening ecologically or organically, our job is to help make soil and let the plants grow themselves; then the insects and the creatures will come and the web of life thrives.
Buy less stuff and when you are buying stuff, make sure that it is necessary and ethically sourced. There is a hidden cost when thing are cheap and it usually nature that is being exploited.
We will come back to this theme as it is ongoing work and evolving adventure ….