International Day of Forests
Forests are not only the lungs of the Earth, they also provide an invaluable amount of resources, are the home of thousands of species of animals and plants, and fight climate change. That's why on March 21 we observe the International Day of Forests, a day that raises awareness about the importance of forest in all of our lives, and the need to prevent deforestation.
History of International Day of Forests
The International Day of Forests is now a United Nations global observance that was inspired by the World Forestry Day, a holiday established in 1971 by the members present at the 16th Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization.
In 2007, two scientists in Oxford, England, from the Center for International Forestry Research believed that people underestimated the importance of forests, and wanted to highlight the latest research into forestry and bring them forward to global policy makers and members of the United Nation Framework Convention of Climate Change Conference of Parties. They organized Forest Day in different countries around the world, from 2007 to 2012.
Eventually, inspired by World Forestry Day and Forest Day, the United Nations declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests, and on November 28, 2012, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution establishing March 21 as the International Day of Forests, to be observed by its member states every year. The first International Day of Forests was officially celebrated on March 21, 2013.
Every year the United Nations chooses a different theme to highlight on the International Day of Forests. Here are some of the past themes:
- 2015 - Forests | Climate | Change.
- 2017 - Forests and Energy.
- 2018 - Forests and Sustainable Cities.
- 2020 - Forests and Biodiversity.
Why is the International Day of Forests Celebrated?
There are many reasons why we should celebrate forests and make sure that they are protected from the global rise in deforestation levels, but here are a few:
1 - They are good for your health. Not only because walks in the woods are proven to improve your health, but also because a lot of the modern medicine we take to make us feel better has ingredients that derive from the plants in forests.
2 - They give food and shelter. The plants in forests provide many nutritious foods such as nuts, berries, sap, herbs, and even mushrooms. These are good not only for us humans but for the millions of animals who habit these ecosystems. At the same time, forests are not only the home of animals, but there are also around 1.6 billion people, and 2,000 indigenous cultures, that depend on forests for food, medicine, shelter, and livelihoods.
3 - They are the lungs of the Earth and help cool down the temperatures. This means that they play a crucial role in fighting climate change, ensuring that future generations can live well and with prosperity.
4 - They provide wood and materials for everyday essentials, and with that, they create thousands of jobs. The world needs wood for construction, paper, furniture, and energy. This all comes from forests. We also need the people who responsibly collect the wood to make these essentials for us, and this is where forests are responsible for creating jobs for many people.
How to Celebrate the International Day of Forests
There are many global events happening around the world for the International Day of Forests, with talks from experts, exhibitions, etc. If there is one near you why not attend and learn more about forests and how to save them?
This is the perfect day to visit the nearest forest, woods, or state park near you, and take a hike to appreciate the beauty of nature.
Play your part in keeping the planet going by plating some trees in your garden, or campaigning with your city officials to plant more trees around your town.