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 the diversity of plant and animal species is preserved, if they have viable populations and genetic diversity is high, then ecosystems are more resilient and capable of adapting to change.
The Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning supports numerous actions for the protection of the environment that contribute to successfully addressing the climate and biodiversity crisis. Some of them are:
- 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 of time and thus facilitate the preservation of natural resources. The emphasis lies on waste prevention and transformation of waste into high-quality secondary raw materials. It focuses on design and production that would allow used resources to remain in the economy as long as possible.
- Slovenia joined the joint initiative of 13 EU Member States for greening the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic. The Green Deal is central to the European economic recovery.
- Natural climate solutions. Experts emphasise the particular importance of forests, grasslands and wetlands in tackling climate change. 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). In order to strengthen the ministry's efforts, 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 pollinator's 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 at Natura 2000 sites, financed from the European Regional Development Fund, under which the condition of numerous grasslands has been improving. Since 2019, at the initiative of and co-financed by the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning, a study on wild pollinators conducted by the National Institute of Biology has been underway.
- Invasive alien species of plants and animals. Slovenian people 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. Their introduction and spread are prevented through measures taken by the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning. With the help of different institutions and individuals, the ministry ensured that various species of plants and animals, newly detected in Slovenia, have been rapidly removed. The ministry keeps the public informed on a section of their website titled Invasive alien species of plants and animals.
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 wide diversity. According to the results of a survey that was published by the European Commission a few years ago, Slovenia is one of the EU Member States where its people make above average effort to protect biodiversity and nature. A number of experts helped prepare recommendations for everyone who wants to contribute towards nature conservation in Slovenia.
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.