Photograph courtesy of the University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszów

On January 24th 2023, WaterLANDS partner Ilona Biedron of Centrum Ochrony Mokradel (CMok) spoke at the first TEDxRzeszow Countdown in Rzeszów, Poland.

The event, entitled “Climate is People,” aimed to combine the knowledge, experience, and creativity of experts from diverse fields to facilitate conversation and solutions to the climate crisis.

During her presentation, Ilona spoke from the perspective of a River to communicate the necessity and importance of healthy rivers to the survival and wellbeing of society. Ilona pointed out that the lack of water in rivers today is the result of many decades of facilitating the outflow of rivers, draining valleys and sealing catchments. She also devoted a lot of space to peatlands, which "currently occupy 3% of the continents' surface, and they store twice as much carbon as in total in all forests of the Earth."

Rivers and wetlands are often intrinsically linked. Healthy wetlands are important stores for carbon dioxide (CO2) and are key to mitigating climate change impacts, but when wetlands are degraded, they become CO2 emitters.

CMok contributes to the WaterLANDS project by focusing their work at one of the project Knowledge Sites, the wetlands around Warsaw. This site is used to gather information on the benefits of wetland restoration, including enhanced ecosystem services and resilience. As well as sharing their knowledge from previous projects carried out in the area, CMok will gather new information about the social, policy and financial constraints for wetland restoration.

Ilona recently produced a Polish podcast entitled Healthy River, which is a space for experts and river-lovers to discuss rivers. The first season ended in January 2023.

Read about the community engagement workshop on the Calowanie Fen that CMok conducted as part of WaterLANDS.

Find out more about the work of CMok in WaterLANDS.