Be a part of nature

The United Nations International Day of Forests takes place on March 21.

So, just how many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals do forests contribute to? That is a great question!

So All 17 UN SDGs are (1) No Poverty, (2) Zero Hunger, (3) Good Health and Well-being, (4) Quality Education, (5) Gender Equality, (6) Clean Water and Sanitation, (7) Affordable and Clean Energy, (8) Decent Work and Economic Growth, (9) Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, (10) Reducing Inequality, (11) Sustainable Cities and Communities, (12) Responsible Consumption and Production, (13) Climate Action, (14) Life Below Water, (15) Life On Land, (16) Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, (17) Partnerships for the Goals.

So it is really easy to say that forests support habitats and biodiversity for Life on Land UN SDG Goal 15. Yay!

Did you know that afforestation, and nature based solutions are great ways to mitigate climate change as forests absorb GHG from the air. That means, that forests also contribute to UN SDG Goal 13 Climate Action.

Richard St. Barbe Baker says “When the trees go, the rain goes, the climate deteriorates, the water table sinks, the land erodes and desert conditions soon appear”. Therefore, protecting forests have a definite function in UN SDG Goal 14 Life Below Water.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations mentions that ” some cities have started to change towards a greener, more sustainable and more resilient model of urban development. They are investing in forests, wetlands and other green spaces – “green infrastructure” – to tackle urban issues previously addressed with engineered solutions that often involve concrete, asphalt and steel.” Voila! Afforestation definitely contributes to UN SDG Sustainable cities and communities.

“Whether you drink water from a well or a municipal supply, forests keep that water clean and abundant. They do this by capturing rainwater and recharging underground aquifers. They also act as a natural filter as water moves over land, cleaning it of pollutants so it arrives at our lakes, rivers and streams in a better condition.” –Source So here we have a free ecological service provided by forest for the UN SDG Goal 6 Clean Water and Sanitation.

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy is the UN SDG Goal 7. Well, Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park contribute to Sask Power’s transmission lines, and Sask Energy Trans Gas Natural Pipe lines to keep Saskatchewan residents safe, and warm with efficient, sustainable and modern energy.

This brings us to UN SDG Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development mentions that those adhering to Goal 16, “agree to work more closely with major groups and other stakeholders and encourage their active participation, as appropriate, in processes that contribute to decision-making, planning and implementation of policies and programmes for sustainable development at all levels” and further acknowledges “the need to facilitate informed policy decision-making on sustainable development issues and, in this regard, to strengthen the science-policy interface.”

So you say how would you say that afforestation areas address the UN SDG Goal 2 of Zero Hunger? Ethnobotany, along with health and wellness of course fulfills this goal, Expanding on this goal, when the time is right and the ecological assessment is completed there will be opportunity to explore restoration and rehabilitation of degraded areas. What comes to mind is native permaculture three sisters community gardens, followed by native forests included berry bushes. Now this is a solution in a growing city, to afforest trees in an afforestation area.

So, we have covered a few of the UN SDGs now, but you say, how is it possible that an afforestation area can focus on the UN SDG Goal 17 Partnerships for the Goals. Well the City of Saskatoon long range planners agree with the UN on this, “A successful development agenda requires inclusive partnerships — at the global, regional, national and local levels — built upon principles and values, and upon a shared vision and shared goals placing people and the planet at the centre.”

Now we come to UN SDG Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. The Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. encourage everyone to celebrate Global Recycling Day March 18 Waste Reduction Week in Canada Monday, October 16 to Sunday, October 22. In light of the waste dumping which occurs in these amazing urban regional parks, those park users alongside the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. are committee to promoting Reduce, Reuse, Recycle lifestyle.

When we get to UN SDG Goal 4 Quality Education, we can bring to mind the child in nature, and place-based learning. Our urban students don’t have the opportunity to explore a mixed woodlands forest like their rural counterparts do. There are so many subjects open for classrooms at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation area and at George Genereux Urban Regional Park. There is science of course learning about the flora and fauna. There is also geology, geography, en plein air art is amazing, history, ethnic and cultural learning, and English composition when it comes to learning about the three amazing role models whom the afforestation areas and wetlands commemorate, and don’t get me started on health, wellness and physical education. The possibilities are endless!

How in the dickens would an afforestation area meet the needs of the UN SDG Goal 3 Good Health and Well-being? Perhaps this one is one of the easiest of them all. We know that the Fatbike Fat Tire Brigade has created a winter trail network to enable walking, cycling, snowshoeing, bird watching hikes, tours, and cross country skiing. Those promote good health and well-being. The PaRx team program is expanding from British Columbia to Alberta, and next – who knows Saskatchewan? What is PaRx? They are doctors who recognize that connecting with nature, and being out in a forest, say, is a great presecription for health. PaRx states that, “Backed by hundreds of studies over several decades, research suggests that connecting to nature is one of the best things you can do to improve your health” Wow! Check it out how Shinrin-Yoku or Nature Bathing is a great prescription for health and wellness.

So, the The United Nations International Day of Forests takes place on March 21. For the Take it Outside Winter Staycation Challenge we have two opportunities for you to be entered into the prize draw! One is to take photos of the afforestation areas while out enjoying them. The other challenge is to identify how you personally can take action locally on the UN SDG goals as you celebrate the afforestation areas. Email your photo, or Email how you, personally, are taking action on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals! Good luck!

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better

Albert Einstein

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Please help protect / enhance your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail / e-transfers )Support the afforestation areas with your donation or membership ($20.00/year). Please donate by paypal using the e-mail friendsafforestation AT, or by using e-transfers Please and thank you! Your donation and membership is greatly appreciated. Members e-mail your contact information to be kept up to date! Canada Helps

United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.

John Muir

This life is yours. Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well. Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly. Take the power to walk in the forest and be a part of nature. Take the power to control your own life. No one else can do it for you. Take the power to make your life happy.

Susan Poliz Shutz
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