Reforesting 350 million hectares of forest would move the date of Overshoot Day by 8 days.
Our biological wealth is our greatest asset.
Humanity’s quality of life — survival even — is dependent on the health of our planet’s biological resources or “web of life.” Fertile soil, clean water, and clean air are necessary to provide humanity with the food and physical health we require to thrive. Vibrant natural ecosystems such as oceans and forests are indispensable to keep our planet livable, for example, by regulating the climate and absorbing carbon emissions. They also help keep humans psychologically and spiritually-grounded.
Given the massive overuse of the planet’s biological resources, our economies now are limited by the availability of Earth’s biocapacity. The good news is, solutions already exist to boost the health of our ecosystems, and in turn, the planet’s capacity to regenerate biological resources:
- Reforestation of tropical forests and mangroves has the triple benefit of increasing biodiversity, sequestering carbon dioxide, and acting as flood barriers during hurricanes for coastal urban areas in the tropics and sub tropics.
- Regenerative agriculture enriches soil, increases biodiversity, and enhances watershed health, while capturing carbon dioxide in the soil.
- Sustainable fishing supports overall ocean health, and helps ensure that the ocean continues to provide for generations to come (approx. 3 billion people rely on seafood as their primary source of protein, especially in low income countries). A healthy ocean also needs acidification to be slowed by controlling carbon emissions, since the ocean currently absorbs 30% of our emissions.
These solutions align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 14 and 15 which call to conserve and sustainably use marine resources, and protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, respectively. To be sustainable, development ultimately must also fit within our planet’s resource budget.