Thomson advocates for sustainable land use

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Environmental Affairs Deputy Minister Barbara Thomson has urged South Africans to move away from unsustainable land use practices and make a difference by investing in the future of land.

The Deputy Minister made the call on the occasion of the celebration of the World Day to Combat Desertification.

“Land is often used as an infinite resource and ignoring its role in our everyday lives threatens food and water supply, biodiversity and even human security itself,” Thomson said.

According to the department, short-sighted economic gains such as land grabbing, unplanned urban sprawl, unsustainable agriculture and overconsumption lead to unsustainable land use, which eventually causes degradation and loss of critical ecosystem services.

“As a result, consumption of the Earth’s natural reserves has doubled in the last 30 years, with a third of the planet’s land already severely degraded. This simply means that the choices we make today about the land will determine future developments for sustainable growth, while a wise investment in land will support our future,” the department said.

World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) is celebrated annually on 17 June. 

The day is aimed at promoting public awareness on issues related to Desertification, Land Degradation and the effects of Drought (DLDD).

WDCD is a unique occasion to remind everyone that DLDD can be effectively tackled and solutions are possible to mitigate the impacts.

This year, WDCD was celebrated under the theme ‘Land has true Value, Invest in it’. 

“This theme calls upon producers, consumers, communities and policy makers to utilise land in a sustainable manner while acknowledging its role in our everyday lives.

“WDCD is a day that focuses on raising public awareness on the importance of investing in land, its benefits and the role it plays in our livelihoods, as well as reminding the world that land is a tangible asset with measurable value beyond just cash,” the department said. –