Target: United Nations Environment Programme Executive Director Erik Solheim
Goal: Increase investment in protecting dwindling wilderness areas and restoring lost wilderness to nature.
In the past 20 years alone, 10 percent of the world’s wilderness has vanished. According to scientists at the World Conservation Society, new maps reveal “alarming losses” of wild areas which, in spite of the huge ecological and cultural benefits they provide, have been largely overlooked in international conservation agreements.
These areas are land that is free of large-scale human disturbances and are often home to indigenous peoples and endangered wildlife. They are ignored in environmental policy even as biodiversity continues to decline across the world.
Since the 1990s, 3.3 million square kilometers of this biodiverse, pristine wilderness has been lost to threats such as unsustainable land use, especially by agriculture companies. Professor James Watson of the University of Queensland in Australia and the U.S. Wildlife Conservation Society said that “international policy mechanisms must recognize the actions needed to maintain wilderness areas before it is too late. We probably have one or two decades to turn this around.”
Researchers say “rewilding”–attempts to restore land to its natural state–is possible, but only if all wilderness areas are immediately assessed for protection measures. This course of action is not only sensible, but also extremely realistic. National parks and nature reserves earn about $600 billion a year from tourism, while currently only $10 billion per year is invested in safeguarding them.
Studies show that investing more in the protection of these lands would not only preserve valuable land, but would also yield economic benefits as well. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain from ensuring the protection of our natural landscapes. Sign below to demand the protection of these pristine lands from damage and disappearance.
Dear Executive Director Solheim,
Ten percent of the world’s wilderness areas have disappeared in the last two decades alone. That amounts to 3.3 million square kilometers of land. These landscapes are invaluable, vital to biodiversity, and key to the continued prosperity and survival of our planet. They are home to indigenous peoples and endangered wildlife, and they must be protected.
In spite of all this, these wilderness areas have continued to be overlooked when it comes to international conservation agreements and environmental policy. According to Professor James Watson of the University of Queensland, Australia and the U.S. Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, “International policy mechanisms must recognize the actions needed to maintain wilderness areas before it is too late. We probably have one or two decades to turn this around.”
There have been attempts at “rewilding,” or restoring lands to their natural state. However, researchers say these attempts will be futile unless we immediately assess all wilderness areas, no matter how small, for protection measures. This course of action is not only necessary and very important, but it is also extremely financially realistic.
A study published PLOS Biology shows that more investment in these wild areas is the most important step to saving them and would also yield economic benefits. The study showed that while national parks and nature reserves bring in $600 billion per year in tourism, currently only $10 billion is invested in their safeguarding each year. This makes an investment in saving these lands a smart move culturally, biologically, and financially.
I urge you to call for an increased investment in the protection of these wilderness areas to preserve their beauty, biodiversity, and vast benefits to our planet.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Kristin