Spain on World Environment Day against drought and desertification

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World Environment Day

On Wednesday, June 5, Spain joins World Environment Day to raise awareness about the crucial role of nature and to combat the degradation of the land due to human activity and climate change.

The fight against drought, desertification and land restoration is essential to preserve a planet that is suffering greatly from the misuse of its resources.

Worrying figures

According to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, up to 40% of the planet’s land is degraded. Moreover, that fact directly affects half of the world’s population. Since 2000, the number and duration of droughts have increased by 29%.

Spanish Vice President and Minister for Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, wished her followers on X a “Happy World Environment Day” and called for a green and promising Europe, looking ahead to the European elections. She encouraged citizens to vote for “our countries, our future” in the upcoming European Parliament elections.

Desertification and water shortages in Spain

In Spain, more than two-thirds of the land area is potentially exposed to desertification. The country is also confronted with longer periods of drought and increasing water stress. Current water reserves in Spain are 65.7%, but some river basins, such as that of the Segura in Murcia (22.6%), internal river basins of Catalonia (30.7%) and Mediterranean Andalucia (31.3%), are in critical condition. In addition to the water shortage, concerns about the quality of available water are also increasing. This is also threatened by overpopulation along the coasts, large water-guzzling data centers, polluting macro farms and poor water management.

Air quality

Other pressing environmental issues in Spain are related to air quality and greenhouse gas emissions. This has led to the introduction of low-emission zones in cities to improve air quality. From January 2023, Spanish cities and islands with more than 50,000 inhabitants will be required to establish these zones, where vehicles will be restricted based on their emissions.

Cogesa Expats

Purpose of World Environment Day

The theme of this year’s World Environment Day, initiated by the United Nations, is “Our Country. Our future. We are #GenerationRecovery”. The aim is to prevent areas where there is no desert climate, with existing vegetation, from acquiring these characteristics as a result of human activities.

Action is necessary

Globally, an area the size of a football field is eroded every five seconds. It takes 1,000 years to form three centimetres of topsoil. Experts estimate that the world will need to increase its food production by 60-70% to feed nine billion people by 2050. Meanwhile, agricultural expansion threatens forests and biodiversity.

Manifesto of PSOE

On World Environment Day, the Spanish ruling party PSOE confirms in a manifesto its commitment to “protecting and preserving” the planet. According to the party, this day offers an opportunity to reflect on the measures needed to protect and preserve the natural resources that support life on Earth.

Activities and initiatives

For World Environment Day in Spain, various activities have been organised, including workshops, nature games, seminars and walking routes, organised by public administrations, universities, organisations, companies and citizens.

Greenpeace emphasises that Spain’s water problem is “not just a lack of rain.” According to the environmental organisation, there is scarce, polluted and poorly managed water in Spain. Currently, twelve of Spain’s 48 million inhabitants already live in areas with water restrictions.

Erika González of Ecologistas en Acción warns that the ecological emergency and its social consequences continue to worsen. That is why she calls for an urgent halt to projects and policies that worsen the crisis.

Community projects and volunteer actions

Amigos de la Tierra emphasises the importance of local communities in restoration projects through community ecosystem restoration. Last weekend, SEO/BirdLife’s Libera project, in collaboration with Ecoembes, called on 15,000 volunteers to remove waste from 926 nature reserves. This problem of waste in nature damages ecosystems and pollutes water and soil.


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