“It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest of source of intellectual interest”, said David Attenborough, the famous British naturalist, summing up the virtues of nature. And we should add: it is the source and the base of human wellbeing and development.
Every year, on 28 July, the world celebrates World Nature Conservation Day. It aims at increasing awareness of the natural resources that the Earth is bestowed with and the need to ensure their long term protection. Ensuring a healthy, productive and sustainable environment is at the base of ensuring stable societies and the guarantee for the well-being of present and future generations.
Mother Nature needs our help also to keep its “kidneys” in good conditions. Nature will suffer if wetlands are degraded or not well managed.
Preserve wetlands to save nature and protect societies
Today, the world is facing natural disasters in the form of more and more devastating droughts, storms, floods and tsunamis due to climate change. Nature is becoming unable to provide in sufficient quantity and quality the daily life elements like water, food and clean air. Well managed wetlands, these natural ecosystems of special value, are part of the solution. They are nature-based solutions for climate-related challenges and human well-being.
Why natural wetlands are considered as “nature’s kidneys”?
As human beings need their kidneys to remove toxins from their blood, wetlands act as giant kidneys by storing, assimilating and transforming contaminants from surrounding lands before they reach waterways and the oceans. They help to dilute and filter materials that could otherwise harm lakes, rivers and the seas.
Furthermore, healthy wetlands can play a key role in mitigating the harmful impacts of climate change. They act as natural climate buffers; they protect us from floods by collecting and holding water during strong rainfall; they recharge groundwater supplies to reduce droughts; and they protect coastal communities against storm surges. They can also be key drivers of local economies, given their importance to agriculture, recreation and fishing.
Watch the cartoon, produced by MedWet, which highlights the priceless services provided by Mediterranean wetlands.
Developing robust, connected and resilient wetlands is urgently needed if we want to secure nature conservation for future generations worldwide. The day we become, all of us – the public and our decision makers – conscious of our responsibilities towards wetlands, Nature can be saved.
Projects to protect natural resources in the Mediterranean:
- Communication campaign on coastal wetlands
- Protecting the Buna river in Albania
- Protecting coastal wetlands in Sardinia (Italy)
- “Capacity Building Platform on Water Management and Abstraction” in the Mediterranean