International Day of Forests 2022: History, theme, importance
About 80% of the world's terrestrial beings live in forests, including over 60,000 species of trees. Around 1.6 billion people worldwide, depend on forests for food, shelter, medicines, income, and energy, directly. The world is losing 10 million hectares of forest each year, a highly concerning number. Could you possibly imagine our planet without a forest? Even the thought is ghastly!
In 2012, The United Nations General Assembly declared March 21 as the International Day of Forests. The aim is to make people aware of the role forests play in our lives. Several countries organize annual events to celebrate and raise awareness about forests and trees in general. Activities like tree-planting campaigns and other related events are held to mark the occasion.
We know how the absence of forests is impacting the Earth. Trees are needed not just for oxygen, but also to combat climate change. Forests are essential for achieving Sustainable Development Goals. They are also the source of a substantial quantity of drinking water for one-third of the world's biggest cities. As per a UN study, forests can help one billion people escape poverty.
The day is assigned a theme every year, and this year's theme is--Forests and Sustainable Production and Consumption--goal 12 of the Sustainable Development Goals. This day teaches people to value and save forests for their own good. Socio-economic progress in the past century accompanied by incessant environmental degradation has endangered our future development system.
IPCC, the UN agency on climate change, has revealed that the world will witness severe repercussions due to climate change. In such a scenario, world leaders need to assume an important role in the fight to preserve forests. Forests absorb greenhouse gases, making the environment cooler. They are the only way to avert events like tsunamis, landslides, and rising sea levels.