“Perhaps there is still time to take a stand for the Kingdom of Life; it needs defenders. Perhaps, mighty as its enemies may be, allies will come who are even mightier.”
– Henry Beston
Public policy can take a stand for the Kingdom of Life. It can lay the foundation for incentives for restoration and disincentives for degradation. Policies can lead to laws, rules, and practices that put consideration of nature, natural capital, and ecosystems at the center of decision-making and actions, economic and otherwise. We need to create incentives for an expanded business sector that provides restoration services, jobs, and technological innovations. We need to encourage the incorporation of ecological restoration into our educational and health systems, and by doing so, move ourselves toward a restoration culture.
The following two initiatives are examples where restoration is part of public policy. One is bottom up and the other top down. We need both approaches – and many other variations.
The Brazilian Atlantic Forest Restoration Pact (AFRP): The Atlantic Forest is the biome that once extended as an uninterrupted forest along the entire Atlantic Coast of Brazil. Today less than 10% survives. The AFRP has set as its mission to restore 1/3 of the biome by 2050. With over 300 institutional members, this bottom-up initiative has attracted strong government support and embedded restoration into policy initiatives in the Brazilian states of Minas Gerais and São Paulo.
The South African Working for Water program: In South Africa, the Working for Water program is a government effort, top down, that integrates restorative action into job creation and the fight against poverty in all nine of its provinces.