The climate is changing around us. But even before the effects of climate change, water has been in crisis globally. Around the world, more people are using more water every day. Cities are growing and using more water, and the waste we produce is seriously impacting the quality of the water around us. Crops and farm animals need water in ever-increasing amounts.
What can we do?
Preserve our wetlands. Solutions to many of the world’s water problems, including climate change, lie with wetlands. Globally we have lost nearly 90% of wetlands since 1700. Wetlands include swamps, marshes, fens, bogs, lakes, rivers, floodplains, estuaries, mangrove forests, and mudflats. Some of these have been restored in recent years, and the impacts of that restoration are already being felt by people and wildlife across the world.
Wetlands are being created or recreated globally right now. From the story of the Madagascar Pochard (a medium-sized diving duck), which started as a single species rescue mission and ended up as a community wetland creation, to a flood-mitigation project in England that became a stunning carbon-capture story, the impact of wetland restoration on wildlife is measurable, even over the short term. Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) is one organization that is delivering these and many more projects by working in partnership with governments of all levels and types, landowners, rural and urban communities, farmers, hunters, and water resource managers.
Bosque del Apache (BdA) is another: like WWT, BdA is making a difference and leading the conversation on the importance of wetlands. Wetlands make a real difference to the environment, to wildlife, to the world, and to people: to livelihoods, aesthetics, and even— as we are starting to discover—mental health and wellbeing.
But while organizations can lead some of the conversation, we always need to work with others who will lead on other aspects. Working together for a better and wetter future is not wishful thinking. Creating and restoring wetlands has started and is already delivering results. It’s not too late! We need to do a lot more and to involve more people from all walks of life—like you! The vision of bigger, better, wetter wetlands is a reality, not a mirage.
Want to learn more?
Watch another key presentation from Festival of the Cranes, about regenerative agriculture, the Johnson-Su Composting Bioreactor Method, with Dr. David C. Johnson.
Wetlands Are Magic. Recording of the 2022 Festival of the Cranes keynote speaker.