Turda Gorge - Nature preserve

World Nature Conservation Day Is On July 28th

Today is World Nature Conservation Day. Although we most likely think of conservation every day, designating a day for it brings the issue to the forefront.

In my household, it is an important issue, since my youngest child wants to be a wildlife conservationist. Yes, she knows what it means and has been explaining it to everyone who ever asks her about her plans for her future since she was about ten. She was the one who brought the issue into focus for our family.

But not everyone’s child wants to be a conservationist. So, designating a day to celebrate nature conservation goes a long way to bring awareness.

Although we shouldn’t need any reminders. We all feel the effects of climate change, we understand our devastating role in it. I feel we all know this, yet somehow we forget it in our daily lives.

As much as awareness about the need for conservation has increased in the past few years, we don’t do enough yet. Human greed, overuse of our resources without thinking of the consequences led to destruction of wildlife habitats, extinction of species, loss of biodiversity. Which affects us all. And, although we are more aware of all this than a few years ago, we still have a long way to go.

And that’s why designating a day for celebrating World Nature Conservation is important. It brings the issue into focus…

Celebrating World Nature Conservation Day

Not as widely known or celebrated as Earth Day, World Nature Conservation Day is still an annual event, held on July 28.

The day brings awareness to the need to preserve a healthy environment and natural resources. One of the main goals of nature conservation is to save animals and plants threatened to go extinct. It also emphasizes keeping the components of nature (flora, fauna, energy resources, soil, water, and air) intact.

Overall though, World Nature Conservation Day brings awareness to the need to preserve the environment for our children and for future generations, to leave them a healthy planet.

Conservation is not exactly preservation though. Preservation means protecting nature from human use. However, that’s not quite realistic, at least not everywhere on the planet. That’s why we focus on conservation, which promotes the sustainable use of nature by humans.

History

World Nature Conservation Day creates awareness about the need to preserve the environment and its natural resources. As far as I can tell, no one has a definitive answer on when exactly we started celebrating the day.

But, while I can’t find any information about when the World Nature Conservation Day began, I learned about the organization that helps conserve the environment worldwide. An organization that started in France 70 years ago.

International Union for Conservation of Nature

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) was founded in 1948 in the small town of Fontainebleau, in France. Besides noticing the need for conservation, the organization’s founders understood the need for international cooperation to address the challenges facing our planet alone.

The first global environmental union, they brought together different governments and organizations that shared goal to protect nature. They aimed to encourage international cooperation and provide scientific knowledge and tools to guide the conservation efforts.

The organization started by examining how human activities affected nature. It promoted the environmental impact assessments adopted in most industries. Later, in the 1960s and 1970s, they directed most of their work towards protecting species and their habitats.

The organization started the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 1964. This list is still the world’s most comprehensive data on the risk of the extinction of species.

In the 2000s, the IUCN introduced “nature-based solutions”. These are actions that conserve nature while also addressing global challenges such as climate change, security of food and water, and poverty alleviation. The IUCN is today the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network.

Working with Other Organizations

In 1980, IUCN, together with the UN Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) published the World Conservation Strategy that helped define the concept of “sustainable development”.

In the 2000s, the IUCN introduced “nature-based solutions”, actions that conserve nature while also addressing global challenges like climate change, security of food and water, and poverty. Since then, they work together with more than a thousand organizations and international experts, forming the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network.

Theme for 2022

The day has a theme each year, and in 2022 the theme is “Living Sustainably in Harmony with Nature.” This theme resonates with all of us, I feel, since we can all do our share to live a bit more sustainably every day. And, while it is even harder while on the road, we can also travel sustainably.

I realize that the big companies pollute way more, and have a much larger impact than we, as individuals, ever can. However, if enough of us practice sustainability, and support businesses that do, we can help.

Even if most of us can’t be fully sustainable, we can all try. And hope it makes a difference, however small.

How We Can Help

We can practice sustainability in our day-to-day lives, and on the road, in many ways. Some things are easier to do than other, and they might make an impact.

Using less plastic (especially single-use plastic) is becoming easier to do, as most companies provide alternatives. At least we can all refuse single use shopping bags and use our own.

We can also try to drive less and use fuel-efficient or electric cars when we do. Carpooling to work and school, working from home when possible, and choosing shorter travel itineraries are only a few things that help.

Don’t throw away your electronics as soon as a newer model comes out. This is especially true for phones; I see people getting a new one every year. My phone is close to ten years old, but it still works just as well as the new ones (well, maybe I need to charge it more often). Seriously though, e-waste is a big issue. As technology changes so fast, people buy new electronic items more often than ever before. And most of the e-waste is not disposed of in the right way. If you need the new technology, try to recycle your old one before buying a new product.

Conserve water. I know I live in the desert, so I am more aware of this than most. However, I read that one of the biggest effects of climate change is the decreasing level of safe drinking water. So, it is important for everyone to conserve water. Simple things like turning off the water when not using it may save thousands of gallons of water.

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