Sustaining Life on Land

In today’s era, where everybody is running towards making more money and in that race of development, we are forgetting the exploitation which we are doing with the environment as well as the future generations for whom we are working so hard. Therefore, this creates a need for a development which is non-exploitative in nature, benefiting everyone and leaving a scope for future generations to see and enjoy the beauty and the resources of the mother Earth. 

The United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development in the Brundtland Report published in 1987, for the first time coined the term Sustainable Development. Sustainable Development refers to the development which meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their needs. It is the organising principle of economic development by sustaining the ability of the natural environment to provide the natural resources on which the economy and the livelihoods depend. Sustainable development basically focuses on using, developing and expanding renewable sources of energy such as sun, wind, hydropower, biofuel and geothermal, etc so that the needs of the humans are met without harming the environment.

Sustainable development focuses on 5Ps’ or Pillars form the basis on how we can thrive towards development. The 5Ps’ highlight how SDGs are an intertwined framework instead of a group of siloed goals. The progress of one Pillar must balance and support the progress of other Pillars. Following are the 5Ps’ of sustainable development:-

  1. PEOPLE- SDGs are aimed for the development of people in economic social spheres.
  2. PLANET- SDGs are aimed keeping in mind the planet is that it can meet the needs of present as well as future generations.
  3. PROSPERITY- SDGs aim that all people live prosperous and fulfilling lives
  4. PEACE- SDGs rightly note that there can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development. Hence, they set goals to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies.
  5. PARTNERSHIP- SDGs call for a spirit of strengthened global solidarity.

The United Nations have set certain goals which can help us attain sustainable development at all levels including local, state, national and international levels. There are 17 such goals which are known as Sustainable Development Goals. All of them have equal significance and it is essential to maintain a balance between all of them.

Forests a local renewable resource of global importance provides valuable products and services essential for humanity. Forests are important for sustainable development, significantly contribute to employment, green economy, food & nutritional security and poverty reduction, health and recreation etc.They also maintain a genetic pool a great asset for future economic well being of the country and its people. Forests are habitat for sustaining wildlife and are critical for maintaining hydrological cycle, improving soil fertility and combating desertification. Nevertheless, forests are also important for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Today forests are being exploited and cut down at an alarming rate for the material benefits but the people are unable to understand the cost of cutting which is long-term. Due to blind cutting of trees and deforestation, out of total 3,00,000 plant species, IUCN has evaluated around 12,914 species finding that around 68% of the plant species are threatened to extinction.A third of 6300 species of amphibians are at risk of extinction. Globally, an estimated 12% of 9865 bird species are considered threatened, with 192 species are “at high risk” of extinction. An estimated 7.3 million hectares of forests, roughly the size of country Panama, are lost every year and 15% of the greenhouse emissions are due to deforestation. The persistent degradation of dryland has led to desertification of 3.6 billion hectares.All these things have arisen the need to address the situation and take steps to protect and conserve the natural environment and ecosystems.

Therefore, all the above unavoidable situations necessitated for SDG 15 Life on Land. SDG 15 Life on Land comprises fulfilling the basic conditions and thriving towards protecting, restoring and  promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably managing forests, combating desertification, halting and reversing land degradation and halting biodiversity loss.

Following targets are set to be achieved under SDG 15 to conserve the forests and diverse biodiversity for the nations worldwide. These include-

 TARGET 15.1: By 2020,ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services , in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands in line with obligations under international agreements.

    • TARGET 15.2: By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially afforestation and reforestation respectively.
  • TARGET 15.3: By 2030, end desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods and strive to achieve land degraded-neutral world.
  • TARGET 15.4: By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems including their biodiversity in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development.
  • TARGET 15.5: Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of the natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.
  • TARGET 15.6: Promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits ariving from the utilization of the genetic resources and promote appropriate use of these resources.
  • TARGET 15.7: Take urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna and address the demand and supply of illegal wildlife products.
  • TARGET 15.8: Introduce measures to prevent the introduction  And significantly reduce the impact of invasive alien species on land and water ecosystems and eradicate or control the priority species.
  • TARGET 15.9: By 2030, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts.
  •  TARGET 15.A: Moblize and significantly increase financial         resources from all sources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems.
  •  TARGET 15.B: Mobilize significant resources to finance sustainable forest management and provide adequate incentives to developing countries to advance such management.
  •  TARGET 15.C: Enhance global support to combat poaching and trafficking of protected species by increasing the local communities’ capacity to pursue sustainable livelihood opportunities.

One should even take steps on an individual level as it is our duty to contribute to saving our planet and small efforts can make a bigger impact. From time to time, we can make an effort and clean our nearby ecosystems such as rivers, freshwater lakes, beaches, etc. we should not throw the garbage here and there especially plastic as it may harm the animals as they may intake it which would block their intestines and would ultimately lead to their death. Also, we must avoid using products which are made by killing animals such as jewellery from elephants’ tusks, medicines from rhinoceros’ horns, etc.

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