Rescue Earth System
Using the Regenerative Design Framework to guide the restoration of Earth’s degraded ecosystems, such as landscapes, lakes and oceans to regain their ecological functionality
The Regenerative Restoration of Ecosystems
The Rescue Earth System is focused on restoring ecosystems, conserving habitat, and regenerating the natural systems that sustain all life on Earth. Ecosystem restoration is defined as a process of reversing the degradation of ecosystems, such as landscapes, lakes and oceans to regain their ecological functionality; in other words, to improve the productivity and capacity of ecosystems.
This can be done by allowing the natural regeneration of overexploited ecosystems or by using the regenerative restoration principles of the Regenerative Design Framework to dynamically enhance the regenerative capacity of natural systems — to speed up regenerative capacity by focusing on natural mechanisms that can be amplified by human interventions.
Wetland restoration along the Târnava Mică (Tîrnava Mică) River in Romania. A former gravel mine (left) was transformed into a functional wetland (right).
© CEEweb for Biodiversity
The Regenerative Restoration of Ecosystems
When viewed through the lens of society, the Rescue Earth System is a global “call to action” to join the volunteer corps and to Rescue Earth from ecosystem collapse — Robin Cowl
Ecosystem restoration is fundamental to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, mainly those on climate change, poverty eradication, food security, water and biodiversity conservation. It is also a pillar of international environmental conventions, such as the Ramsar Convention on wetlands and the Rio Conventions on biodiversity, desertification and climate change.
Currently, about 20 per cent of the planet’s vegetated surface shows declining trends in productivity with fertility losses linked to erosion, depletion and pollution in all parts of the world. By 2050 degradation and climate change could reduce crop yields by 10 per cent globally and by up to 50 per cent in certain regions.
From Degradation to Ecosystem Restoration
Bad Land Management leads to drought, soil erosion and desertification. In contrast, Ecosystem Restoration restores soil and water cycles and reverses desertification.
SEE the infographic below …
Ecosystem Restoration Camps are a practical, hands on way to restore land degraded by humans. Our mission is to work with local communities and build camps that transform degraded landscapes into lush, abundant, life-giving ecosystems.
Reversing Soil Erosion and Rehabilitating Landscapes
Soil Erosion continues to be a serious problem, especially when populations grow exponentially and land resources are more intensively used (and misused). Soil erosion results in loss of topsoil, reduced soil fertility, greater rainfall runoff, lower groundwater recharge, increased sediment flows in rivers, lowered quality of drinking water, increased flooding, and diminished economic benefits.
There are many areas throughout the world that are severely degraded. Although the erosion of this landscape in Kenya can never be repaired to its original state — we can (for example) restore ecological function by using Leaky Check Dams to capture soil and rehydrate the gullys (dongas) and nature will return.
Integrated Ecosystem Restoration
By following the principles of the Regenerative Design Framework we can use Vetiver Grass Systems to help rehabilitate severely eroded landscapes, especially when used in conjunction with the other ecosystem restoration solutions we promote such as: Leaky Check Dam Systems, Infiltration Swale Systems, Keyline Water Management, etc.
Thus, by integrating many small interventions, we can dynamically enhance the regenerative capacity of nature, and rehabilitate all the severely degraded landscapes on Earth.
Ecosystem restoration and regenerative development together offer a practical pathway to redesign the human impact on Earth. This is the path towards becoming healers of the Earth and in the process heal ourselves and our relationships with each other and the community of life. We are all called to join together and to overcome the silos between disciplines, sectors and ideologies in an unprecedented collaborative effort to restore ecosystems everywhere and to heal the Earth — Daniel Christian Wahl
The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, approved by the General Assembly on the 1 March 2019, will run from 2021 to 2030 and emphasize scaling-up of restoration work to address the severe degradation of landscapes, including wetlands and aquatic ecosystems, worldwide. It will likely boost landscape restoration work to the top of national agendas, building on a public demand for action on issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and the resulting impacts on economies and livelihoods.
Ecosystem restoration is fundamental to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, mainly those on climate change, poverty eradication, food security, water and biodiversity conservation. It is also a pillar of international environmental conventions, such as the Ramsar Convention on wetlands and the Rio Conventions on biodiversity, desertification and climate change.
Valuing Ecosystem Function higher than material things is the paradigm shift that determines whether we understand the meaning of our lives and survive or whether we remain ignorant and selfish and destroy our own habitat trying to gain more wealth or more power. If we reach this level of understanding, not only can everyone live on the Earth but the natural systems on Earth can reach their optimal ability to sustain life. — John D. Liu (2016).
In preparation for the Decade’s launch, everyone can help raise the visibility and level of ambition for ecosystem restoration. Depending on your background consider the following actions:
- On an individual or small scale, you can become active in a local conservation organization, support research, plant trees, improve the ecosystem around you, or educate others on the value of ecosystem restoration
- Think about how your work can, or does, contribute to ecosystem restoration. Start strategizing on your contribution to the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
- Communicate the opportunities that the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration can bring to your organization and to the constituencies you work with, and share it widely
- Get in touch with the organizations supporting the implementation of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and bring up ideas of in-country, regional, and international opportunities to scale up ecosystem restoration by, for instance, fostering partnerships, disseminating technologies and knowledge, and unlocking resources for the implementation of restoration action in all ecosystems.
- Identify gaps that this UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration can address through the global movement and join forces with others who are actively involved in pushing forward the global ecosystem restoration agenda.
Planting a trillion trees seems like an impossible task yet it is one of the easiest ways to start the regenerative restoration process in many of Earth’s degraded ecosystems. Even though restoring forest land is at the core of the trillion tree initiative, there are many ways to use trees that benefit natural ecosystems, food production and communities.