Addressing Climate Change through Eco-Restoration

From Ecorestoration Alliance website.

Restoration of healthy biodiverse landscapes and seascapes can reverse climate change and activate all the other benefits that biodiversity offers.

Project description

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development suggests that Climate Change (SDG #13) is the greatest challenge of our time, undermining our ability to address other SDGs and threatening the very survival of our planet. Much of the world is resonating to this call to action, adopting changes to policy, production, and education towards dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The prevailing belief is that by addressing Climate Change directly through the removal of atmospheric carbon, we can effectively save Life on Land and Life under Water. 

While well intended, this direct approach is inherently flawed. By viewing Life on Land (SDG #14) and Life Under Water (SDG #14) as effects rather than drivers of Climate Change (SDG #13), we are missing a powerful sustainability insight:  restoration of healthy biodiverse landscapes and seascapes is can reverse climate change and address activate all the other benefits that biodiversity offers.

What does Eco-restoration really mean, and is it a viable strategy for Climate Change? Plants balance and adapt to their environments, but the destruction of healthy ecosystems has destabilized the climate.  We can counter these effects with restorative agricultural practices: rebuilding soils, restoring synergistially adapted ecosystems, and thereby rehydrating landscapes and restoring water cycles. Restoring the biosphere can restore the life-friendly climate we depende upon.

Through addressing the SDGs through eco-restoration, we can leverage both individual and collective efforts toward scalable impacts and progress associated with the following targets.

13.3 Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning

13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries

11.7  By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities

Project outcome

Students can support the eco-restoration movement through collaborative projects and sustainability digital badges. Student projects will focus on developing digital tools and curricula to amplify existing eco-restoration efforts and inspire new ones, to set the stage for "hands in the dirt, boots on the ground" experiential projects at colleges, universities, and communities everywhere.   

Priority projects include:

  • Content creation, curation and social media management for the Big Map To Save The Future.  Reading, summarizing, and formatting eco-restoration success stories for a Google Earth-like interactive map, and sharing those stories in social media to celebrate, encourage, and recruit ever-more ecorestorationists. 
  • Software development for the  Big Map To Save The Future, to create an automated workflow and tracking system to bring stories and articles from web and other online media to the map, and thence to social media, all the while tracking and visualizing  impacts and influences on the growing eco-restoration movement.
  • Event management and entrepreneurial development.  Work with the Founder of EcoRestoration Alliance and  to interview and onboard potential members, organize projects, schedule meetings, and support working groups, and coordinate collaborations. 
  • Students’ work will be shared with the Eco-restoration community and may be featured (with permission) on the following platforms.

Big Map To Save The Future

BioDiversity for a Livable Climate

Social Media groups and pages on all the major social media platforms.

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment Variable
Start time Spring 2023
In-person, remote, or hybrid? Flexible
Level of collaboration Small group or individual
Benefits Digital badge and networking
Who is eligible All undergraduate students 

Core partners

Project mentor

Mara Huber

Associate Dean, Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning; Director, Experiential Learning Network

127 Capen Hall

Phone: (716) 829-2834


Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.)
  2. After you receive approval from the mentor to start this project, click the button to start the digital badge. (Learn more about ELN's digital badge options.) 

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase. 

The specific preparation activities for this project will be customized through discussions between you and your project mentor. Please be sure to ask them for the instructions to complete the required preparation activities.