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World Wetlands Day – a call for action

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31 Jan 2022

The world’s wetlands are incredibly important. Their ecosystems house extraordinary biodiversity and they contribute to freshwater availability, protect against flooding and act as immense carbon stores for the planet.

On 2 February 2022, World Wetlands Day is a United Nations International Day for the first time, raising awareness of wetland decline and calling for action to stop draining and start restoring.

There are events taking place worldwide to support the day. See the World Wetlands Day website to find one near you or even add your own.

What are wetlands?

Wetlands are exactly what you’d think from the name, land that’s wet. That includes everything from flood plains, estuaries and coastlines, through to peat bogs, mangroves and coral reefs.

These habitats are being lost at an extraordinary rate. Over 85% of the world’s wetlands have disappeared since the 1700s, with 35% gone since 1970.

Some wetlands are astonishingly good at absorbing and storing carbon, something the planet desperately needs. For instance, peatlands make up around three per cent of the world’s land area but store nearly a third of all land-based carbon. That’s twice as much as all the world’s forests combined.

wetland facts
Our partnership with the RSPB

Ecotalk + RSPB is our sustainable mobile phone service, investing 100% of profits to buy back land for nature across the UK.

In July 2019, Ecotalk helped the RSPB buy Fairburn Tips, an old dumping ground for coal mining waste. Two years on, it’s been restored to create wetland, grassland and lakes, and is part of the RSPB Fairburn Ings reserve in West Yorkshire.

In just a couple of years, biodiversity has made a swift comeback. On the lake, new pontoons are helping terns and other birds nest without fear of flooding, while reed beds are carefully maintained to encourage booming bitterns, cormorants, egrets and herons.

It’s also been a record-breaking year for spoonbills at Fairburn Ings, with seven successful nests and 14 thriving ‘teaspoons’ as the young birds are affectionately called.

On some of the tips, lowland heath habitat is taking off – it’s a wonderful environment for bees and butterflies, including Essex Skippers and Common Blues.

Berney Marshes in Norfolk

Since the Fairburn Tips purchase, Ecotalk + RSPB customers have also helped to buy an extension to the Berney Marshes Nature Reserve – 10 hectares of wetland that will serve as a vital home for migratory waterfowl and breeding waders in Norfolk.

It’s a special place. As summer turns to autumn, you can watch flocks of wigeon, golden plover, avocets, and a host of other water birds arrive.

Through winter, their numbers grow to over 100,000, waiting for the warmth of spring before the birds move through on their way north. You’ll also see gorgeous courting displays of redshanks around this time.

What’s next for Ecotalk + RSPB?

Right now, we’re closing in on the funds we need to secure Wast Neaps on the Island of Yell.

Yell is the second largest of the Islands of Shetland and home to a thriving population of otters, as well as a stunning range of birds, including skuas, merlin and red-throated divers.

We just need a few hundred more people to switch to Ecotalk + RSPB in order to safeguard this next vital wetland.

Switch your SIM to save wetlands

Ecotalk + RSPB is an Ethical Consumer Best Buy – and we power it all with 100% green energy from the wind, the sun and the sea.

Our bundles start at just £5.50 per month, running on the EE network with the best coverage in Britain.

Visit or call 0333 800 4400

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