International Day of Forests – Celebrating Nature’s Carbon Capture Technology
Roosevelt called them “the lungs of the Earth,” Robert Frost and millions of poets were inspired by them. Today we celebrate one of nature’s very own carbon capture technologies - forests.
For many years now, the UN’s International Day of Forests has been creating awareness all over the world about the importance of forests. They are home to about 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, with more than 60,000 different tree species.
They are one of our greatest natural treasures that we must preserve and protect. Around 1.6 billion people depend directly on forests for food, shelter, energy, medicines, and income. They absorb carbon dioxide and provide us with oxygen, cleaning our air and prevent global warming. They stabilize the climate, control atmospheric temperatures, protect watershed areas, regulate the water cycle, and enrich the soil.
We are losing 10 million hectares of forest each year – that’s roughly the size of Iceland.
Yet, the world needs wood and not just for construction, paper, furniture, etc. As the world’s population grows, with it the hunger for energy. Currently wood accounts for approximately 45% of the world’s renewable energy supply. Encouraging and modernizing this industry can help find new and sustainable ways to produce bioenergy. However, due to unregulated mass deforestation, we are losing 10 million hectares of forest each year – that’s roughly the size of Iceland.
That is why the UN has announced that this year’s theme for International Day of Forests is sustainable production and consumption - opening a discussion about how forest-based innovations, resource efficiency, forest-based products and ecosystem services can contribute to a sustainable lifestyle and accelerate a shift towards more sustainable consumption and production. These efforts help to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, our health, wellbeing and a transition towards low-carbon and green economies.
So, enjoy a walk in our magnificent forests or plant some trees this 21st of March. Take the time to appreciate the global importance forests play in our lives and what we stand to lose if they disappear.