Reimagine. Recreate. Restore. Together, these form the theme of World Environment Day 2021 5th of June, a day when individuals, governments, businesses and institutions focus their attention on urgent the need to restore the Earth’s ecosystems.

Papua New Guinea and the world, through generations have depended entirely on the ecosystem services to sustain their livelihood. Today more than half of the Papua New Guinea’s population continue to receive everything they need from the environment, food, water and raw materials. The environment has also played a crucial role in this country’s rich cultural and development history and will continue to support its progress into the future.

This however is significantly changing due to failing ecosystem. The impact of human inflicted environmental stress is evident in Papua New Guinea and around the world.

The emergence of COVID-19 has reminded us just how disastrous the consequences of ecosystem loss can be: The destruction of animals’ natural habitats creates ideal conditions for pathogens such as coronaviruses to spread.

Never like before Papua New Guinea needs an urgent ecosystem restoration. The environment is in a critical state. Some unique ecosystem such as the Sepik Wetland is constantly under pressure by developments that is set to take place. In addition communities around the country are also prone natural disasters and have experienced firsthand the added hardship of the changing environment. Extreme weathers continue to threaten the livelihood of the local people.

It’s time to reassess, reimagine, recreate and restore our planet. Our long-term prosperity relies on rebalancing our use of ecosystem services such as pollination, flood protection and CO2 sequestration, and nature’s capacity to supply them.

With this urgency in mind we need to create awareness in the communities regarding the environment. We need a reassessment to our daily actions. World Environment Day reminds us that things are not the same anymore and we cannot continue to be ignorant to our environment forever. It is quite clear that continuing on a business-as-usual basis is not an option.

Let’s make our generation the last to encounter environmental problems. Let’s make it our personal business to take care of the environment we live in. Simple action counts, shopping without plastic bags, using less fossil fuel, avoid excessive logging and overfishing or polluting the sea and rivers. It is our actions today that will determine the future of Papua New Guinea tomorrow.

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