Category Archives: environment

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EU Biodiversity Strategy and Landscape

The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and its Path to a Thriving Planet

In the face of mounting environmental challenges, the European Union (EU) has embarked on a visionary journey to safeguard our planet’s rich tapestry of life.

The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 stands as a clarion call, urging us to unite in protecting, restoring, and celebrating the wonders of nature. This holistic strategy encompasses four pillars, each weaving together a unique thread that holds the promise of a more sustainable and harmonious future. Let us embark on an expedition through the pillars of this strategy, discovering the steps that will guide us towards a world where nature thrives.biodiversity pillars

The first pillar of the strategy emphasises the expansion of protected areas, aiming to encompass 30% of the EU’s land and sea. This commitment involves preserving these areas from harm and ensuring the conservation of their delicate ecosystems for generations to come. Additionally, a third of these protected areas will receive the highest level of defense, enabling nature to flourish undisturbed within their boundaries. This demonstrates a deep understanding of the inherent value of biodiversity and the importance of safeguarding our planet’s most vulnerable spaces.

Acknowledging the interconnectedness of all ecosystems, the EU’s second pillar focuses on restoring nature and promoting sustainable practices across various sectors. This multifaceted approach aims to heal the damage inflicted on our natural landscapes, ranging from expansive forests to fragile wetlands. It recognises that the well-being of our planet is intricately linked to our own, and sustainable land and resource management are pivotal in preserving both.

The third pillar of the strategy goes all out to strengthen the EU’s biodiversity governance, knowledge, research, financing, and investments. This commitment ensures that we have everything we need to bring about meaningful change. It’s a rallying cry for governments, institutions, and individuals to fully embrace their roles as guardians of biodiversity and actively drive the kind of impactful transformation our planet needs.

Recognising that biodiversity knows no borders, the EU extends its reach beyond its own territories.

The fourth pillar of the strategy focuses on leveraging EU external actions to raise global ambitions for biodiversity. Through partnerships with nations worldwide, the EU aims to minimize the impact of trade on biodiversity and provide support for conservation efforts beyond European borders. This collective endeavor reflects a commitment to shared responsibility and the understanding that protecting biodiversity is a global mission that transcends geographical deal

As we traverse the four pillars of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, we witness a collective commitment to nurturing our planet’s ecological harmony. This unique strategy envisions a world where protected areas thrive, nature is restored, transformative change is embraced, and global partnerships are forged. It is a testament to the EU’s determination to safeguard the symphony of life that resounds in every corner of our planet.

To find out more about the Biodiversity strategy for 2030 visit:

Data and maps

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Earth Day 2023

earth day statistics imageEarth Day is an annual celebration which has been taking place since 1970. It started as an attempt towards making people more environmentally aware and active.

Over the last years it is more relevant than ever and it has been taking in more and more significance since the climate crisis is rapidly evolving. It is celebrated on 22nd April every year in more than 193 countries worldwide.

Earth Day aims to raise awareness about protecting our planet, conserving the environment and its natural resources.

The theme for Earth Day 2023 was “Invest in Our Planet” (watch the theme video) and there are various ways to participate in the celebrations whether you are kids, students, teachers, parents or you just want to make the difference.

After all, the decisions we make as individuals, as trivial as they may seem, can play a crucial role in the effect they have on the planet. You can find out about all the events that have been taking place around the world from this map.

Moreover, visit the website and find out everything you want to know; the history of Earth Day, how to become a member, how to get involved in activities, view and use the available toolkits and many more!

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Landscapes and rewilding in Europe

On 19 July 2000, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers adopted the European Landscape Convention and decided to open it for signature to the 41 Member States of the Council of Europe.

The European Landscape Convention, also known as the Florence Convention, was the first international treaty to be exclusively devoted to all aspects of European landscape. It aims to fill the legal vacuum caused by the absence, at European level, of a specific, comprehensive reference text devoted entirely to the conservation, management and improvement of European landscapes in the international legal instruments on the environment, regional planning and the cultural heritage.

It applies to the entire territory of the signatories and covers natural, rural, urban and peri-urban areas. It concerns landscapes that might be considered outstanding as well as everyday or degraded landscapes. The Convention is aimed at: the protection, management and planning of all landscapes and raising awareness of the value of a living landscape.

The European Landscape Convention introduced a Europe-wide concept centring on the quality of landscape protection, management and planning and covering the entire territory, not just outstanding landscapes. Through its ground-breaking approach and its broader scope, it complements other work done by the Council of Europe and the UNESCO World Heritage Convention.

Council of Europe Heritage Priorities

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World Heritage Convention timeline

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Recent research by Quintera-Uribe and others (2022) suggests that large-scale ecological restoration of the multiple dimensions of landscape is crucial for effective biodiversity conservation and combating climate change. They analyse the main characteristics of participatory scenarios in Europe and suggest going beyond existing participatory activities centred on developing exploratory or target-seeking scenarios. They consider future-seeking scenarios related to ‘Nature for Society’ and ‘Nature as Culture’ and identify gaps for further work. Rewilding landscapes was an important theme in this research.

rewilding europe imageAccording to Harris (2021), rewilding was first discussed in the 1980s as a continental-scale vision to protect large tracts of wilderness and connect these areas with migration corridors. It is now considered to be a shift from human-centred, intensively managed landscapes to humans sharing their lands with the rest of nature.  In Europe rewilding is commonly connected with returning abandoned agricultural land to nature or allowing natural processes, like the coastal erosion of cliffs to take place with protecting them from the waves. Find out more about Rewilding European Landscapes

New initiatives like the Endangered Landscapes Programme are being developed restoring landscapes across Europe. Find out more by playing the video.


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Visualising Climate And Landscape

earthmap imageEarth Map ( is an innovative and free application developed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. It was designed in the framework of the partnership between the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and Google. Earth map facilitates the visualisation, processing, and analysis of land and climate data.

It was created to support countries, research institutes and even farmers with internet access to monitor their land in an easy, integrated and multi-temporal manner.

Earth Map allows everyone to visualise, process and analyse satellite imagery and global datasets on climate, vegetation, fires, biodiversity, geo-social and other topics.

Earth Map’s data is divided into thematic segments – Climate, Geosocial, Vegetation, Land Degradation Neutrality, Water, Satellite images, Land maps, Forestry, Fire, Geophysical, Soil and Biodiversity.

The data allows users to visualise different layers of information to create maps and to generate statistics to describe the areas of interest. These layers include the European Space Agency’s Climate Change Initiative Land Cover, the Copernicus ECMWF Temperature and Precipitation ERA5 data, the Global Forest Change tree cover loss, Nightlights.

Earth Map allows users to access and display information from multiple time periods. It  thereby gives  both a temporal (accessing time series data) and a spatial (visualising places) perspective to their areas of interest.

Users need no prior knowledge of remote sensing or Geographical Information Systems (GIS).

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Find out moreVisit Earth Map

Pesticides in the landscape

Pesticides are a serious threat to food and agricultural systems. In the field, they kill not only pests, but also pollinators such as bees, and harm the quality of soils. They threaten the health of farmers and agricultural workers. But their toxic imprint will spiral in the landscape  – as pesticides can be found in food, water and air. They find their way into our bodies and our living environment.image on survey

Pesticide Checkup is an interesting initiative started earlier this year has now produced some interesting insights regarding the way pesticide influence our environments and more importantly – the human body.

Between May and August 2022, 300 people from across 10 European countries participated in the citizen science project to get their hair tested for pesticide residues. The independent laboratory EXPOZOM analysed the samples for the presence of 30 different pesticides.

The key findings from the report show that:
• Nearly every third person (29%) had residues of at least one pesticide in their hair. 25 out of the 30 sampled substances were detected.
• Farmers, farm workers and people living in rural areas usually had higher concentrations of pesticides in their hair.
• The top 3 pesticides detected were: the herbicide Prosulfocarb, the fungicide Tebuconazol and the insecticide Acetamiprid.

farm to fork diagramHowever, the results are not representative of the overall EU population due to under-sampling, the finding shows a trend and is consistent with empirical studies on the topic. Read the full report here.

Back in May 2020, the grassroots union published the Farm to Fork Strategy – a statement of intent for transforming food systems.

One of the goals of the strategy is to reduce the composition of pesticides by 50% by 2030. However, this goal is not legally bound to national governments and agrochemical lobbies.
The EU is currently planning its pesticide regulations, but there is a risk of less ambitious outcomes than European citizens would like. According to Angeliki Lyssimachou,

Senior Science Policy Officer at the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), “Surveys like the Pesticide-CheckUp show that EU-wide measures to reduce exposure to toxic pesticides are urgently needed to safeguard the health of vulnerable groups, such as farmers and residents of agricultural areas. European governments and the Commission must put health first and move towards an agricultural model that does not depend on pesticides or other harmful chemicals”.

Find out more: GoodFood-GoodFarming

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GEOCULTURA is the 8th Biennale of Contemporary Art logo

The city of Thessaloniki, Greece hosts the 8th Biennale of Contemporary Art which takes place from December 2022 to May 2023.

The main theme is Geocultura, a term deriving from the combination of “geo-“ and “culture” pointing out the connection between the land cultivation and the mind cultivation.

“The exchange of ideas, values and norms, within a context of a multitude of cultural, geographical and political debates and conflicts, is at the core of the concept of ‘geoculture’ in the political and social sciences.”geocultura venue

Modern life demands and successive crises, such as economic, climate and refugee, have made people redefine their connection with the land; turn to organic farming, try to achieve better management of natural resources, protect biodiversity. Art, perceived as a means to understand the world, aims to raise our environmental awareness and the artists who take part pose questions and offer various versions of the future through their works.

The Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art is financed by Greece and the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) is organised by MOMus and implemented by MOMus-Museum of Contemporary ArtMacedonian Museum of Contemporary Art and State Museum of Contemporary Art Collections.

For more information visit the website