World Environment Day: Every little helps as we seek to restore our ecosystems

Saturday 5th June marks World Environment Day. First launched in 1972 by the United Nations, its focus is on how human beings interact with the environment. Hosted by Pakistan this year, World Environment Day has a different theme each year.

This year the theme is Ecosystem Restoration. The emphasis is on working to restore some of the areas of the world that have been devastated by human activity. Re-wilding is an important part of the activities that the UN is focusing on.

But it is not all about creating new wildlife reserves or finding ways to repair the massive damage already done to the world’s coral reefs. Re-greening is also about how the already densely populated parts of the world can take steps to become more environmentally friendly.

For example, the UN is focusing on reforestation around Madrid, Spain’s capital, where much of the region’s ancient woodland was almost completely cut down for farming by the end of the 16th century. The municipality of Madrid is launching a drive which aims to connect a series of existing woodlands, turning them into a green belt which will eventually stretch 75kms around the city.

A number of other major cities are embarking on ambitious re-greening programs in the course of the year. These efforts come as part of the UN’s Decade of Ecosystem Restoration, an effort to use natural processes to bring cleaner air and water to urban populations.

Re-greening already developed land can be tough – and expensive – when there is still so much demand for housing in the populous countries in Western Europe.

Prestige Funds has been working with the agricultural community in the UK for over a decade now, providing financing for clean on-farm energy. Part of this drive has actually been to provide farmers and local communities with cheaper energy, achieved from renewable power sources. But we have also developed an awareness of the ecological priorities facing these communities beyond their immediate need for electricity.

Prestige Funds recently turned over an older bio-gas site in the UK for a re-greening project that will also serve to protect and enhance existing ancient woodlands that are in close proximity to that site. Although located in a densely populated part of the UK, the site will hopefully soon be serving a new role as both an educational hub and also provide recreation for local people within a much more natural setting.

In many respects the project, while very small compared with the size of that being embarked upon by Madrid, will be contributing in its own small way to the re-greening program the UN is keen to promote and facilitate. We hope to bring you more detail on this once it has reached fruition.

Prestige Funds and our lending partners continue to work hard to make sure that the activities and projects we finance have minimal to zero environmental impact. Indeed, our bio-gas financing program continues to bring positive benefits to the UK rural economy as we strive to increase the proportion of electricity in the UK that comes from renewable power sources.

To find out more about World Environment Day please click here.