Is ecosystem restoration a tangible, achievable goal?
We must remember that in spite of its ambitious goals, ecosystem restoration is feasible and tangible, and can take place at any level. It is not practical to restore an ecosystem to how it was two centuries ago. We need to factor in the rapidly developing world and growing populations. We also need to think about making ecosystems more adaptable to climate change. However, since an eco-centric approach takes the position that everything is connected, it can be practiced with success at the individual level as well as the global level. A kitchen garden and a household are ecosystems; waste management, healthy eating habits and growing house plants are all part of making this ecosystem healthier. Just as global warming and climate change can lead to a bird species in a remote marsh losing its habitat, restoring this habitat at the level of the marsh contributes to mitigating their effects on the global level. Once we understand this inter-connectedness, we can bring about ecosystem restoration on a large scale with the appropriate expertise, sector-specific experience, and science-backed approaches. This World Environment Day is as much a day for reflection as for immediate, efficient, and practicable action. The UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration has put out a clarion call for the mobilisation of such ecosystem restoration projects. However, for nature, ten years is the blink of an eye. The lifespan of the ecosystem is much longer than human rules of time. Each one of us is a fraction of the bigger picture; this realisation is both humbling and empowering. We can successfully assist nature in rebuilding itself, by seeking long-term solutions through integrated approaches and people’s movements.