Thursday April 22, 2021 marks the 51st celebration of Earth Day worldwide. This year’s theme is “Restore Our Planet” which focuses on natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems. Earth Day began in 1970 in the United States of America (USA), emerging from the concern of millions of citizens about the state of the environment, and trends of environmental degradation in the US at the time. In the 1990s the movement grew to over 140 countries mobilizing civil society and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Environmental restoration aims to assist ecosystems in recovering from damage or degradation, and there are various ways you can contribute. Today we will focus on tree planting, coastal cleanups and the regeneration of marine populations such as lobster, parrotfish and sea turtles.
Trees play an important role in various ecosystems providing a habitat for almost 80% of plants and animals. Trees also absorb Carbon Dioxide from the air and reduce air temperature which is especially important in built up cities such as Kingston or Montego Bay, St. James. The roots of trees provide soil stability and prevent soil erosion in times of flood.
Tree planting is one method of environmental restoration that can be successful when done properly. When conducting tree planting you should ensure that the trees planted are appropriate for the selected area - this will give them the best chance of surviving. If conducting a tree planting exercise is a coastal environment, ensure the trees are native to the area and can withstand windy and salty conditions. You must also ensure that someone has been identified to ensure the trees will be watered and maintained for at least two years, especially in the summer months or periods of low rainfall. Young trees may also need to be protected from grazing animals.