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World Wetlands Day:
February 2nd, 2021

World Wetlands Day marks the signing of The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance that took place in Ramsar, Iran on February 2, 1971. The goal of this international celebration is to raise public awareness of the value of wetlands and to promote wetland conservation. This year’s theme, Wetlands and Water will highlight wetlands as a source of fresh water and promote actions to stop the loss of this crucial wetland function.

World Wetlands Day also provides an excellent opportunity for students and teachers to explore local wetlands and to take action on their behalf.

Why Care about the Wetlands?

Wetlands and Water:

  • Only 2.5% of the earth’s water is freshwater and of that <1% is potable
  • Wetlands along with lakes and rivers supply most of the world’s freshwater
  • Currently 2.2 billion people do not have access to clean sources of freshwater
  • Wetlands function to remove many pollutants & improve freshwater quality

 Biodiversity:

  • Wetlands provide the planet’s second most bio-diverse ecosystems.
  • 40% of the earth’s species breed or live in wetlands.  (Ramsar 2020)
  • Most of the world’s endangered plant and animal species depend on wetlands.

For Urban Areas wetlands provide:

  • Flood & storm surge protection savings of  millions ($) in damage annually
  • Improved air quality- particularly in dry climates
  • Economic opportunities through wetland tourism
  • Recreational spaces for residents
  • Options for reliable and cost effective sewage treatment

Climate Change Mitigation:

  • All wetlands play a role in carbon sequestration
  • Coastal Wetlands are especially efficient in capturing carbon
  • Mangroves store 50 X more carbon than tropical rain forests
  • Conservation & restoration of coastal wetlands can have a major impact on reducing emissions & impacts
  • Loss/destruction of wetlands will release large volumes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere

Human Impact:

  • 90% of Canada’s urban wetlands have been destroyed
  • 50% of Canada’s freshwater wetlands have been destroyed
  • 65% of Atlantic Canada’s salt marshes have disappeared
  • Historically, agriculture has been the largest contributor to wetland loss

Resources 4 Rethinking encourages students and teachers to participate in World Wetlands Day. Top R4R Picks will connect you to some excellent resources to support these efforts.

Other Resources:

For more information and ideas be sure to check out the World Wetlands Day website.