What the Latest Science Says About Restoring Our Earth

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Last month, a global spotlight was put on the impact of human behavior on our planet with Earth Day 2021, which had the theme of “Restore Our Earth.”

Although it is common knowledge that we need to collectively change our behavior to ensure the sustainability of our planet for future generations, it is often the climate scientists who offer the truly illuminating insights that can help us all chart the right path forward.

A recent Yale Environment 360 deep-dive article analyzed three different studies that offer somewhat differing views on climate restoration. Should we focus on the species themselves or ecosystems in general for restoration efforts? This was the central question of the article, and it seems that a mix of the two is the best option.

One study discusses how reintroducing species to an ecosystem can help to restore the overall natural balance. For example, an area with lesser predators such as lions or wolves will lead to an excess of herbivores, and competition for over limited vegetation for food.

A secondary study found that we should focus beyond species reintroduction, and put our efforts into preserving the natural resilience of ecosystems that have persisted for millions of years. The idea is ecosystems persist for a much longer time than a certain species.

The third study in the article is a bit different, and moves away from the “species versus ecosystem” argument. It contends that – although human behavior such as farming – has impacted ecosystems for more than 12,000 years, today’s industrialized society is doing much more damage to the environment.

The common thread that we see in all of these studies is that we need to do something now to restore our Earth – whether it’s though species reintroduction or ecosystem restoration.

Of course, these scientists can always tap into the brilliant minds of today’s youth. In our annual Earth Day podcast with Simone, the 10-year old student from Vermont, believes that green technologies and better environmental education is the answer.

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