TEHRAN – This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Department of the Environment (DOE), which coincides with World Environment Day, which celebrates half a century of environmental protection.
The environment and biodiversity are the precious heritage that humans have borrowed from previous generations and should bequeath to future generations, but in the meantime human extravagance has endangered this heritage, so that many plant and animal species are in danger of extinction.
Urban development, expansion of agricultural land, large-scale logging and destruction of forests under the pretext of building roads and dams, which resulted in the subsequent drying up of wetlands and rivers, extinction of species plants and animals, sand and dust storms, and the appearance of various marine and land environmental problems.
There are no exact official statistics on the extinction of plant and animal species, but some believe that every 15 to 20 minutes a species in the world goes extinct.
Due to the growing trend of environmental destruction, the international community has thought of a solution, designate a day as World Environment Day to draw the world’s attention to the importance of the issue.
In 1972, the United Nations General Assembly designated June 5 as World Environment Day. The first celebration, under the slogan “Only One Earth” took place in 1974. Over the following years, it developed as a platform to raise awareness of issues facing our environment, such as pollution from air, plastic pollution, illegal wildlife trade, sustainability consumption, sea level rise and food security, among others.
The theme for World Environment Day 2021 is “Ecosystem Restoration”, hosted by Pakistan this year, and will see the launch of the United Nations Decade for Ecosystem Restoration.
In Iran, in commemoration of World Environment Day, a week has been set with this name since June 6-12, which this year coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Ministry of the Environment (DOE).
Founded in 1971, the Iranian Ministry of the Environment is a government organization responsible for issues related to environmental protection.
Currently, about 18.5 million hectares of land in the country are under the management of the DOE, according to Kioumars Kalantari, DOE deputy chief for natural resources and biodiversity.
To preserve the existing biodiversity over Iran’s vast geographic expanse, four types of areas have been designated for preservation and protection, including national parks, wildlife refuges, protected areas and natural national monuments. In 1997, the DOE controlled 7,563,983 hectares of these areas. In 2003, the monitored areas reached 11,791,788.225 hectares.
According to the latest studies, around 1,300 species of vertebrates, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and aquatic fish, around 30,000 species of invertebrates and 8,000 species of plants have been identified in the country.
Unfortunately, over the past two decades, human activities have led to alarming degradation of ecosystems, the removal of genes, species and biological capacities; Human threats to biodiversity have accelerated the most over the past 50 years in the history of human life.
COVID-19 has given a boost to biodiversity
The COVID-19 outbreak has caused many problems around the world, but in return has given the environment and the planet’s biodiversity a chance to breathe. The high mortality rate may be worrisome, but it has allowed us to think more about how we should better deal with biodiversity.
The sudden prevalence of COVID-19, followed by lockdowns and restrictions around the world, reduced human activity, evacuation of highways, reduced travel, air and ground transportation, and a significant drop in greenhouse gas emissions, benefited nature in the early months.
While after a year reports claimed the increase in logging and illegal hunting of wildlife, which showed that man is no longer kind to himself, as conservation is in fact protecting ourselves and the resources without which we cannot survive.
According to experts, “the most important and most important public good of any country is the environment”, unfortunately, due to the wrong approach and an underestimation of its vital importance, its capacity is dwindling every day and it cannot be traded or bought, although some officials, especially economists, suggest ways to price these environmental resources, they are invaluable.
Environmental protection must be highlighted
COVID-19 is nature sending us a message. In fact, it reads like an SOS signal for human enterprise, highlighting the need to live in the “safe operating space” of the planet. The environmental, health and economic consequences of not doing so are dire. Today more than ever, technological advances allow us to listen to such messages and better understand the natural world.
We can estimate the value of “natural capital” – the stock of renewable and non-renewable natural resources on the planet, such as plants, soils, and minerals – alongside the values of produced and human capital – for example, roads and skills – which together form a measure of a country’s true wealth.
Data from the United Nations Environment Program shows that, on a per capita basis, our global stock of natural capital has declined by almost 40% since the early 1990s, while produced capital has doubled and human capital has increased. by 13%.
For sustainable economic growth, by helping our leaders make better decisions that provide us and future generations with the healthier, greener and happier lives that more and more of us say we want.
Now, protecting and enhancing our environment must be at the heart of how we achieve economic prosperity.
FB / MG