Today, while various measures taken towards enforcing a sustainable environment are underway, a lot has already been lost. Rate of forest loss remains high, temperatures are rising and as a result overall water levels are rising as well as forests are vulnerable to fires.
In the past 2 years, vast areas of forest in India, Canada, Russia, United States, Indonesia, Brazil and the Congo Basin went up in smoke due to forest fires. This is gravely affecting the natural ecosystem, disrupting the delicate balance between the flora and fauna.
Yet all hope is not lost. There is a scope of huge improvement in the next 3 to 4 decades with various optimistic steps been taken to save what is left of.
5th June 2016 is marked as The World Environment Day by the United Nations for raising awareness and encouraging action to sustain this the planet.
China and the United States, the two largest carbon emitters vowed to reduce emissions. Six European oil companies say they’d welcome a carbon tax. A Norwegian pension fund has pledged to stop investing in coal. Germany, Europe’s largest energy consumer, has turned to an energy revolution which aims to replace nukes and fossil fuels, while using renewables to generate 27 percent of the country’s electricity currently. Production of renewable energy-wind, solar and hydro power is booming in China, as it is in many other countries, because the cost has plummeted.
The abovementioned initiatives is only a handful. The 21st century is indeed a tipping point.
- Rising influence of activists
Environmental activist Rob DiPerna
Corporations — through their supply chains — are ultimately linked to a greater share of deforestation than ever before. A byproduct of this shift is corporations, instead of most deforestation being caused by small farmers producing food for themselves and local markets, have become a prime target for activists pushing for more forest-friendly sourcing practices. Indeed, campaigns by environmentalists have begun to transform how entire sectors go about producing, trading, and sourcing their commodities. The soy industry in the Brazilian Amazon was the first sector in 2006 to mandate zero deforestation, followed by similar commitments from major cattle players in the Amazon (2009), a number of palm oil companies (2010 to present), and the Indonesian pulp and paper industry(2013-2015). Other sectors are coming on board as well, with companies like McDonalds and Cargill pledging to cut deforestation out of supply chains ranging from coffee to cacao.
- Corporate commitments and action
Wilmar’s no deforestation policy
Companies are now changing their practices in response to environmental groups and increasingly shareholders and local governments. Since 2010, many companies have adopted “zero deforestation” policies that set social and environmental safeguards for their commodity sourcing. And new technological tools are helping improve transparency around company supply chains.
- Harnessing technology for good
Near-surface and on-the-ground technologies ranging from camera traps to audio sensors to conservation drones have mushroomed. The proliferation of mobile phones have enabled virtually anyone to become an activist, whistleblower, or citizen journalist or scientist. Cell phones have also created unprecedented opportunities for once isolated groups and communities to connect, share knowledge, and mobilize against destructive projects.
For example, due to use of such technology, the annual rate of clearing in the Brazilian Amazon has fallen 80 percent, which was initially being lost at a rate of 23,000 square kilometers
Satellite imagery, better science, and growing interest in land-based solutions to mitigating climate change are spurring efforts to reverse some of the environmental damage inflicted on the planet in recent decades. Challenges like The Bonn Challenge, established in 2011, aim to restore 150 million hectares of deforested and degraded lands by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030.
- Progress on climate change
REDD+, a U.N.-led initiative aims to create performance-based incentives for conserving forests, was one of the major advances in the Paris agreement. Curbing climate change would also help forests in other ways: models suggest warmer temperatures and increased CO2 levels heighten the risk of drought and tree die-off across large expanses of the tropics.
Of Course there are other reforms been taken up to curb deforestation and sustainable living. These forest friendly trends are endorsed by the United Nations but change shall happen when all of mankind realizes its role in enforcing these ideas in action.
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