World Wetlands Day
Held on February 2nd annually
World Wetlands Day is held on February 2nd annually to celebrate the 1971 adoption of the International Convention on Wetlands in the Iranian City of Ramsar.
Each year there’s a new theme for World Wetlands Day and events are held throughout the country. This year the theme is Wetlands and Climate Change, to draw attention to the vital role of wetlands as a natural solution to cope with climate change.
The frequency of disasters worldwide has more than doubled in the past 35 years, with even more extreme weather predicted going forward. Most climate scientists agree that the main cause of climate change is increased amounts of greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere, trapping heat from the sun.
The level of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has increased 40% since pre-industrial times, released from burning fossil fuels like coal and oil mined from the earth or seafloor. Where did those fossil fuels form? In wetlands! Even today healthy peat wetlands remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it underground, indefinitely.
While trees are held up as carbon heroes, wetlands are in fact the most effective carbon sinks on Earth!
Peatlands cover about 3% of our planet’s land and store approximately 30% of all land-based carbon – twice the amount than all the world’s forests combined. Trees do store carbon, but only until they die and decompose. New Zealand peatlands have been found to be year-round permanent sinks for carbon dioxide.
Wetlands are climate champions. So, on Feb 2nd, grab some friends or family, go visit a wetland, and thank it for being a natural solution.