At a time when headlines about the climate crisis and the loss of biodiversity are rarely out of the news, there’s a story of hope waiting to be told by journalists and communications professionals and discovered by ESG investors.
Scientists are finding that land restoration can profoundly benefit communities, the environment, and even reverse the effects of climate change. Results include improved soil health, increased biodiversity, the return of native wildlife species, and the removal of carbon from the atmosphere.
The Meaningful team recently supported a journalist-only webinar to explore this exciting topic, hosted by the Resilience Media Project at The Earth Institute, Columbia University. Speakers included noted environmental author Judith D. Schwartz and ecologist John D. Liu, founder and chair of Ecosystem Restoration Camps, an international non-profit.
“It’s empowering for people,” says Liu, “It raises them from desperate poverty and gives them agency. Because they are involved in the restoration, it allows them to see they are the method which changes their situation.”
Although land restoration alone cannot solve all the problems currently facing the natural world, it is quickly becoming a major tool for ecologists, farmers, and investors. But before a story of hope can be told, communities need to understand what restoration projects might mean for marginal lands in their area.
If people don’t know what’s possible, how can we begin to envision it?
“If people don’t know what’s possible, how can we begin to envision it?” says Schwartz. “Journalists can really offer a service in telling stories of how people are able to heal the landscapes of their communities.”
While large scale projects are an important piece of the puzzle, restoration can and does happen on a much smaller scale. In urban areas, the use of permeable footpaths can help to control runoff and flooding. Green roofs can help to retain water that otherwise would wash quickly down storm drains, and they also help to reduce the ‘heat island effect’ that keeps cities as much as 10 degrees warmer in the summer. And former brownfield sites can be reclaimed and turned into sustainable housing. In other words, restoration projects can be found everywhere – it’s just a case of knowing where to look.
A blog about land restoration is now available from the Earth Institute, including a complete writeup of the webinar plus some useful resources for journalists, PRs and ESG investors wanting to learn more.