World Nature Conservation Day 2019 & the role of Protected Areas
Every 28th of July, the World Nature Conservation Day brings up to the forefront the topic that in recent years has (fortunately) grown importance on people’s mind, organisations, enterprises, and governments’ policies: Nature conservation. Are we doing enough?
Nature is everywhere…
As the main theme of the EUROPARC Conference 2019 “Nature on your mind: understanding our values” says, nature is present in all the aspects of human life, from the air that we breathe, the food and water to the sources of inspiration and spaces that hold us, nature is everywhere. Our urban life makes society believe that nature has something to do with pristine forests and unreachable places, that nature is always “out there”.
However, everything that we consume, use, see or perceive comes from nature itself, in fact, sometimes talking about the word “nature” is limiting, since everything comes from it and can not be separated. In some cultures, for instance, the word “Nature” doesn’t even exist, is not part of their vocabulary, since nature is inherent to everything. The world is Nature. We are Nature.
World Nature Conservation Day 2019
Protected Areas. Protecting ourselves.
Protected Areas were born from a public desire to preserve the most impressive assets of nature, the amazing landscapes, and the places where society could find a place to restore forces after a long work journey. In the World Nature Conservation Day 2019, it is important to acknowledge the multitude of benefits that well-conserved ecosystems bring us, apart from the recreational and aesthetic values;
- provisioning services such as firewood, food, fresh water, and raw materials;
- supporting services such as soil formation, habitat provision or pollination;
- regulating services such as climate regulation, purification of air and water, pest and disease control;
- cultural services such as spiritual and historical heritage and recreational experiences;
This is what we nowadays understand as ecosystem services, the life-supporting system of all living creatures, including humans.
Only if we understand ourselves as part of Nature, will we be able to succeed in conserving it.
By preserving both biodiversity and ecosystem services, Protected Areas are the guardians of our future. Not only should they be proclaimed, supported and grow in number and extension, Protected Areas also need tools to be effectively managed, integrated into the local community and coordinated to a common objective.
Since 1973, the EUROPARC Federation works to support and improve the work of Protected Areas in Europe. We believe that Protected Areas are better managed through international cooperation: nature knows no borders, so we must speak about nature conservation from above geopolitical boundaries.
Developing management tools, providing training and capacity building opportunities, sharing best practice and challenges, in the EUROPARC network someone has the answer to your question, a solution to your problem, an idea you can use. We, at EUROPARC, connect nature conservation professionals to ensure our Protected Areas can reach out to their full potential.
Together, EUROPARC Federations and its 400 members from across Europe (and beyond!) work every day for nature conservation, ensuring healthy ecosystems and a viable future to us all.