Nature is in freefall. Humanity’s addiction to burning fossil fuels and converting natural ecosystems
for agriculture is changing the climate, degrading once-productive lands and driving plant and animal
species to extinction. It’s no coincidence that millions of people each year are killed by the direct
consequences of poverty, lack of clean water or adequate nutrition, extreme weather and exposure to
new virulent pests and diseases.
Centuries of overexploitation has allowed a sense that humanity is somehow distant and disconnected
from nature; when in reality we are deeply dependent on nature’s health to safeguard our own.
It’s not appropriate to think of nature as just a provider of services, a tool to be utilised and discarded
at will. Rather it is time we recognise nature as the ally that she has always been. As well as an
appreciation of the power of nature, we now have a better understanding of how to unleash that power
through an extremely powerful concept: nature-based solutions. In particular, the importance of an
integrated social and economic policy framework for implementing nature-based solutions effectively,
equitably and at-scale.
In many parts of the world intact natural ecosystems both sustain and protect the indigenous
communities that inhabit them. Working with nature to build resilience against challenges to human
well-being, or even survival, is not new. That wisdom is as old as time but is being sidelined, devalued
or erased from memory in humanity’s race to expand and dominate.
Nature-based solutions recall that age-old wisdom and reimagine it for the unprecedented challenges
we face in the 21st century. Protecting, restoring and enhancing natural ecosystems holds the potential
to help alleviate current societal challenges, including climate change, water and food insecurity, and
to increase resilience to future risks. Grasping the inherent sense in resetting global development
pathways along nature-positive1
lines not only represents a cost-effective investment to the immense
and immediate challenges society faces, but also encapsulates a vision for a better, healthier and safer
world for all.
Get the latest updates on our work delivered to your inbox.