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World Environment Day: June 5

World Environment Day 2024: Land restoration, desertification, and drought resilience

by Kate Albertus
Posted: June 4, 2024

World Environment Day 2024 is celebrated on June 5, marking the 51st anniversary of this global holiday. This year’s theme is “land restoration, desertification and drought resilience”, urging us to protect and revitalize ecosystems worldwide. This effort is crucial for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is spearheaded by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

We are currently experiencing a triple planetary crisis that includes the crisis of climate change, crisis of nature and biodiversity loss, and crisis of pollution and waste. While these issues are overwhelming and a bit scary, World Environment Day provides an opportunity to highlight the many innovative solutions and potential strategies to mitigate climate change.

Watch the 2024 Video!


Drivers of Degradation, Drought, and Desertification

While degradation, drought, and desertification do include natural causes, human activity has increased the scale, scope, and speed of these issues exponentially. A few examples include deforestation, land clearing, over extraction of water resources, and more. Addressing these challenges effectively requires us to understand our role and rethink our current practices.

Diagram illustrating the interconnectedness of climate change, desertification, and biodiversity loss.
Credit: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005



Restoration is extremely important and is a goal of World Environment Day. According to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, billions of hectares of land (about 1/5 of Earth’s land) are currently degraded, affecting almost ½ of the world’s population and threatening half of the world’s GDP. Economists have found that every dollar invested in land restoration can generate up to $30 USD in ecosystem benefits. Benefits of restoration include increasing livelihoods, lowering poverty, building resilience to extreme weather, and increasing carbon storage and therefore slowing climate change. By restoring only 15% of land and stopping further conversion, the planet can avoid up to 60% of expected species extinctions.


Learn how everyone can help restore land, prevent desertification and droughts with the 2024 World Environment Day Practical Guide. This guide outlines the many ways we can all join forces to give nature a helping hand by acting today, making smart choices, and raising our voice for restoration. View the guide here.

Antelopes in the desert with text about World Environment Day and land restoration.

Close to Home

Sarasota County Government is dedicated to protecting the local environment through various programs and initiatives. The Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program (ESLPP) and Neighborhood Parkland Acquisition Program (NPP), both voter-approved and taxpayer-funded, aim to acquire and safeguard natural lands and parklands. Additionally, the county secures land through grants, donations, partnerships, and conservation easements. Residents can nominate land for county acquisition by completing a land nomination form. In celebration of Florida Arbor Day, Sarasota County invites the community to participate in a “Tree Quest” scavenger hunt across county parks. Furthermore, the Sarasota-Manatee region, supported by the EPA’s Climate Pollution Reduction Grant (CPRG) program, is developing a comprehensive Climate Action Plan to reduce air pollution and improve community well-being. Community members are encouraged to join the virtual and in-person meetings on October 2, 2024, and March 6, 2025, respectively, to contribute to this vital initiative. Learn more. Save the date for the 2024 Annual Sustainable Communities Workshop on November 7, from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM. This 19th annual event will unite the community to discuss key sustainability priorities. Our expert speakers will share the latest insights on various topics, including extreme heat, air quality, resilience, climate change, and more. Visit our exhibitor booths to network with businesses and community groups dedicated to building a sustainable future.

Aerial view of a long bridge over a river surrounded by greenery.
Photo Credit: Sarasota County Photo Database








A logo with a tree and text "CONSERVATION FOUNDATION of the Gulf Coast".
Credit: Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast

Sarasota County also has a robust network of organizations and nonprofits working to preserve and restore our beautiful area. Here we’ll highlight a few though there are an abundance of wonderful organizations doing wonderful work! The Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast is an amazing organization that protects and preserves the land and water in Southwest Florida for the benefit of people and nature. Check out their programs and events page to get involved!


Logo of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program featuring a bird silhouette over blue waves within a circle.
Credit: Sarasota Bay Estuary Program

Another great nonprofit, Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, strives to improve the health of Sarasota Bayand enhance the area’s natural resources for public benefit. The Sarasota Bay Guardians volunteer program engages people of all ages in ongoing efforts to restore Sarasota Bay. Learn more here! You can also check out the Green Living Toolkit for local events and experts on energy, food, waste, water, and nature. There are tons of ways to get involved and connected with local organizations and groups that are working to preserve our area!


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