All living creatures on Earth depend on a healthy and balanced ecosystem to support their basic needs, and human beings are no exception. Over the years, the rapid expansion of cities and industrial developments have taken a toll on the environment, causing the collapse of ecosystems and biodiversity in some of the world’s move beloved destinations.
To raise awareness and call for actions from people all over the world, World Environment Day (WED) was established on 5th June by the United Nations since 1972 with the slogan “Only One Earth”. Each year there is a host city with a specific theme addressing environmental issues, pushing people to participate and stimulate positive behavior in order to promote a sustainable future.
This year, WED will be hosted by Pakistan and calls for urgent action for ecosystem restoration. This years event will coincide with the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030, an international movement that aims to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems through the participation from governments, corporations and citizens across the globe.
The government of Pakistan also launched the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Programme in 2019, aiming to revive forests and wildlife resources. One of the key components of this mission is the planting trees for biodiversity conservation over the next 5 years. The plantation target of total 1 billion trees is set to be achieved by 30th June, 2021. As a result, the program provided 84,609 green jobs in Pakistan through the The Forest and Wildlife Departments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In fairness, restoration does not always mean that it’s possible to restore nature and ecosystems to their original state. The destruction from human beings on the natural ecosystem from urbanization, travel and global trade are the main drivers of frequent emergence of zoonotic diseases.Sometimes, it is nest to remove pressures from the environment so that nature can heal on its own. The economic benefits of restoration surpasses nine times the cost of investment, while it is at least three times more costly without any action.
Amid the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic that has put a halt to human activities and traveling, it is now essential for the tourism industry and destinations to rethink sustainability and take regenerative actions. Sustainability, in this case, might be defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability for future generations to meet their needs.
Solimar has been helping destinations rethink their approach to management through The Institute for Sustainable Destinations, a recently launched online training and resource platform designed and developed by professionals within the industry that provides an integrated system for sustainable destination marketing and management. At ISD, Solimar focuses on economic enhancement, ecosystem regeneration and cultural enrichment perspectives, guiding leaders and DMOs through the destination development journey. As one of the fastest-growing industries around the globe, it is important for the tourism businesses to create strategies for crisis management and enhance the adaptability to all types of risks under the resilience-based framework. Beyond World Environment Day, it is the responsibility of each of us to be more mindful of our daily actions and decisions to minimize the impact on the ecosystem. After all – we only have one Earth.