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Earth Day in light of climate action

On 22 April the world marked the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Earth Day draws our attention to the vulnerability and uniqueness of the planet on which we live. The Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning contributes to the protection of the environment through active engagement and multiple projects. Let us take this moment to reassess our habits and create new ones that are better for our planet.

We are marking the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day which draws global attention to the vulnerability and uniqueness of the planet on which we live. By raising awareness of the importance of a healthy environment of which we are all the more aware during the pandemic, Slovenia has also joined the celebration of Earth Day.

Fiftieth Earth Day in light of climate action

This year's Earth Day focuses on actions to combat climate change. Climate change represents one of the biggest challenges to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable.

Nature conservation is an important ally when it comes to mitigating climate change. If we preserve the diversity of plant and animal species, if the species have viable populations and if genetic diversity is high, then ecosystems become more resilient and capable of adapting to change.

With a view to protecting the environment, the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning supports a range of actions to mitigate the ongoing climate and biodiversity crisis successfully. Some of them are:

 - A circular economy. Repair, reuse, refurbish, as well as the sharing and co-purchasing of services allow materials to remain in circulation for a longer period and thus facilitate the preservation of natural resources. The emphasis lies on the prevention of waste generation and the transformation of waste into high-quality secondary raw materials. A circular economy focuses on design and production that allow used resources to remain in the economy as long as possible.

 - Slovenia took part in the joint initiative of 13 EU Member States for greening the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic. The Green Deal plays a crucial role in the European economic recovery.

 - Natural climate solutions. In dealing with climate change, experts draw attention to the particular importance of forests, grasslands and wetlands. In Slovenia, they are being conserved as Natura 2000 sites or as part of protected areas. In these sites and areas, activities for the conservation of ecosystems and improvement of their conditions are carried out by means of different financial sources, including project funding (e.g. LIFE, European Cohesion Policy, Common Agricultural Policy, European Economic Area). To bolster the ministry's efforts further, the LIFE programme funded an integrated project for the enhanced management of Natura 2000 in Slovenia, which the ministry carries out jointly with 14 partners for the period of 8 years. More on this project.

 - Protection of wild pollinators. Four out of five crops and wild plants depend on insect pollination. Preserving pollinator diversity, which has been declining rapidly all around the world, is therefore essential for ensuring reliable pollination and with it stable food production. In national protected areas under active management, the ministry carries out activities to improve pollinators' habitats and raises awareness about the role of this important part of Slovenia's biodiversity. The ministry also supports the improvement of habitats of wild bees through projects in Natura 2000 sites, financed by the European Regional Development Fund, under which the condition of numerous grasslands has been improving. At the initiative of and co-financed by the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning, a study on wild pollinators has been conducted by the National Institute of Biology since 2019.

 - Invasive alien species of plants and animals. Residents of Slovenia have noted that invasive alien species cause an increasing number of problems for human health and the economy, while experts warn that invasive alien species have become one of the main threats to biodiversity. Because of climate change, some invasive alien species will settle or spread even faster. In order to prevent their introduction and spread, the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning has taken appropriate measures. With the help of different institutions and individuals, the ministry has ensured that various species of newly detected plants and animals in Slovenia have been rapidly removed. The ministry keeps the public informed on a section of its website under the title Invasive alien species of plants and animals.

 Even small actions count: What can each of us do?

The current situation indicates that changes in behaviour, which benefit the planet, nature and all living beings, are possible (for example the rational management of resources such as food and the sound management of waste).

If the majority of the population offers their support and if each of us personally contributes to it, we can preserve Slovenian nature, its wealth and rich diversity. Slovenia is one of the EU Member States in which its people make extraordinary effort to protect biodiversity and nature. Such results have been mirrored by a survey published by the European Commission a few years ago. A number of experts helped prepare recommendations for all those who want to contribute towards nature conservation in Slovenia. The ministry gathered all recommendations on its website under the title  For nature lovers.

Earth Day is not just this one day. Each one of us can do something to keep the Earth in better shape every day. Future generations and the Earth itself will be thankful for it.

Stay healthy.

Earth Day is marked every year on 22 April and was first organised in 1970. Today it is coordinated by a global network called the Earth Day Network – EDN. Further information on Earth Day is available in English at

 

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