SDG 15 is about the quality of the food we eat and of the water we drink, about the basic resources of human activities, and other of the so-called ‘ecosystem services’ which are essential for human life. SDG 15 seeks to protect, restore and promote the conservation and sustainable use of terrestrial, inland water and mountain ecosystems. This includes the protection of ecosystems and biodiversity against natural and human threats, as well as restoration of degraded natural spaces (desertification, deforestation, polluted soils, etc.). Four main priorities have been identified: to sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse soil degradation, and halt biodiversity loss.

However, the situation is not improving fast enough: an estimated 20 percent of the Earth’s land area was degraded between 2000 and 2015. But we can all take part in the improvement of the situation (or at least in the mitigation of information about the degradation). Choosing food sustainably sourced (organic, local, etc.), limiting consumption of goods and energy to our real needs, or reusing and recycling to reduce waste can contribute at the individual level! Acting as a responsible citizen, or even better as an ‘eco-citizen’, is a demand. Eco-citizenship supposes well-informed citizens, aware of the impact of their individual choices and behaviour on the environment. Eco-citizenship also means engaged citizens, able and ready to make some change at home and work in to prevent disturbance of ecosystems and wildlife.

A better connection to our natural environment and stronger empathy with nonhuman life on Earth requires personal life experience and willingness. However, trainers can play the role of a mentor by demonstrating the link between the subject matter they teach and threats to the natural environment related to the specific sector of activity, and by orienting learners towards greener practices and technologies.

Action Areas

  • Biodiversity

    Biodiversity

    Caring about life on land supposes a good understanding of the notion of ecosystem and biodiversity and awareness of the fact that human life is intimately linked with biodiversity and a healthy ecosystem. Nature provides the essential resources for food, water, energy and health. Natural resources can cure a lot of diseases and it is already proved that many diseases are consequences of ecosystem disturbance. Ecosystems directly support a lot of human activities such as agriculture, forestry, tourism, etc. Thus, around 1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction (2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service). Understanding of the interdependency between economy, society and ecosystems contribute to the holistic approach and system thinking required for sustainability.
  • Ecological footprint

    Ecological footprint

    The Global Footprint Network calculated that in 2019, Earth Overshoot Day, the date when humanity has used the natural resources budget for the entire year, was reached on July 29, the earliest date ever. The global economy first went into ecological deficit in the early 1970s and over the past 20 years, the date has advanced by three months. At an individual level, as well as an organisational level, we can also calculate our ecological footprint, by analysing our choices and habits in terms of food, mobility, waste production, life-style, etc. Several tools are available online that help us identify where we could improve our behaviour and change our habits to reduce our impact on the environment.start!
  • Green food

    Green food

    “Our food systems are putting an impossible strain on the planet” states the World Wide Fund for Nature together with numerous researchers and politicians. ‘Life on land’ is interconnected with aspects of our food production systems responsible for soil pollution, deforestation, erosion, eutrophication, biodiversity loss, and other disturbances. In 2020, the European Union developed the “Strategy for Sustainable Food” as a key component of sustainable development: the “EU Farm to Fork strategy for sustainable food”. We can take part in the implementation of this strategy by making sustainable food choices. This includes paying attention to the origin of the products, choosing organic and local food, reading labels (and understanding them!), limiting the consumption of meat, and a lot of other habits that can be good for our health and good for the planet!
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