World Environment Day 2024

“In 2024, World Environment Day focuses on restoring land, halting desertification and building drought resilience. Up to 40 per cent of the world’s land is already degraded, while an estimated 3.2 billion people worldwide are negatively impacted by desertification, and more than three-quarters of the world’s population is expected to be affected by droughts by 2050. The message is clear, we must restore ecosystems to tackle climate change, save species from extinction and secure our future.”

These issues might seem far away but focusing on restoring land effects the whole planet, so we all benefit. In particular:

  • Climate Change: Healthy ecosystems act as carbon sinks, mitigating climate change – a global threat impacting the UK's weather patterns.
  • Food Security: Land degradation disrupts food production worldwide, impacting food prices and supply chains, including those in the UK.
  • Biodiversity: Loss of ecosystems globally reduces biodiversity, impacting ecosystems everywhere, including the UK.


How is Letchworth involved in this global challenge?

Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation have significant land holdings, 2500 acres of which are farmed by a commercial organisation, the Rand Brothers. We have long-term agreements in place, and therefore our land is not currently under truly regenerative agricultural management, although there is much debate on that topic. However, the Rand Brothers follow Fair to Nature – Conservation Grade, and Leaf Marque Standard. These standards include requirements such as farming to promote biodiversity across 10% of the land, avoiding the use of peat, measuring water efficiency, progressively decreasing pesticides, and not using neonicotinoid insecticides, amongst other requirements. There is a fierce and ongoing debate about how changing environmental standards affects farmers. 

We also operate Standalone Farm, families joining us at can use recently installed water play equipment to explore the effects of water on the environment, through educational play. This was delivered as part of the ResilienTogether funded project that investigated the use of technology to manage the natural chalk stream – Pix Brook. Whilst this mainly focuses on flood risk, rather than drought, the information from sensors can be used to understand periods of drought, and the importance of protecting Chalk streams which are important breeding grounds for wild creatures. Also at the farm, we provided a space for Greencare at Norton to establish a market garden. This provides a valuable resource for vulnerable adults, at the same time as promoting low impact, local food production, which is good for soil health. Check out their produce in the Farm Shop.

We protect Letchworth’s green spaces by administering the design principles. All character areas, including new developments, have commitments to green space. Additionally, we promote maintaining trees and hedges, which are valuable natural resources to manage and retain water in the area. As well as providing nature corridors. We also promote sensitively locating water butts to collect rainwater, reducing the demand for drinking water, which is often in short supply in the summer.

We are the first living humans to experience the suffering of the planet. “A tree begins with a seed #GenerationRestoration begins with you.”

Consider finding out about the weird and wonderful facts about our planet: