This year on World Day to Combat Desertification, we think about the real value of land.
Not just its economic value. Land is worth so much more than that. It defines our way of life and our culture – whether we live in the city or the villages. It purifies the water we drink. It feeds us. It surrounds us with beauty.
But rapid population growth and changing consumption patterns have generated excessive pressure on our finite land resources. This, in turn, has led to land degradation around the world. Globally, thirty percent of all land has lost its true value due to degradation. How can we meet our most basic needs - let alone our wants - when the amount of healthy and productive land is declining so dramatically?
The future looks bleak.
Fortunately, with changes in consumer and corporate behavior, and the adoption of more efficient planning and sustainable practices, there can be enough for all. Enough land to provide sufficient food and water for everyone. Enough to deliver the other goods and services we need and want from nature.
Difficult choices and trade-offs will be needed, including a commitment to change long-established consumption patterns. But get the decisions right, and the future looks a lot brighter.
So, I would ask you: when you choose what to eat, what to wear or what to drive, think about how your choice impacts the land – for better or for worse.
We are all decision-makers. In our daily lives, our choices have consequences. And our small decisions can transform the world. Let us try and act accordingly.
Nature offers us many opportunities. Let us work together to transform the way we consume, produce, work, and live together without compromising our current or future social, economic or environmental security. Without compromising the land on which it all depends.
The Sustainable Development Goal target of achieving land degradation neutrality by 2030 is an important response to these challenges. And a pathway forward, together.
It will help us conserve and manage the land we have well. It will help us recover degraded lands; stop land grabbing; fight climate change; increase food production and provide clean water.
Support Sustainable Development Goal 15.
Tell us how you plan to achieve the goal of land degradation neutrality.
Our way of life – on land – depends on it.