Being sustainable is no longer enough.
Since the industrial revolution, we’ve broken nature’s finely balanced ecosystems and it’s not enough to limit our degenerative practices, we also need to grow our regenerative practices to repair the damaged we’ve caused.
The 2019 State of Nature Report confirmed that globally wildlife populations are in freefall, having plummeted by 60% since the 1970s.
The UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world. Centuries of farming, building and industry have taken their toll and reduced wildlife to a low level hardly seen elsewhere.
NATURE-BASED SOLUTIONS TO CLIMATE CHANGE
The 2021 IPCC report was billed as a ‘code red’ for humanity. The landmark study warned of increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts and flooding – and global warming hitting 1.5 degrees by 2040.
But the scientists also said that climate catastrophe could still be avoided if the world acts fast.
There is hope that deep cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases could stabilise rising temperatures, and that we could even start cooling the world if we start taking carbon out of the atmosphere.
One of the most effective ways to do this is using Nature-based Solutions.
BEYOND NET-ZERO, TO NATURE-POSITIVE BY 2030
At the 2021 Carbis Bay event, the G7 leaders announced that the world must not only become net-zero by 2030, but also nature-positive for the benefit of both people and the planet.
They recognised that the climate and biodiversity crises are intertwined, and that nature-positive initiatives can tackle BOTH crises at the same time.
Given the current state of emergency for climate and biodiversity, the 2020s must become the decisive decade where we create a legacy of nature restoration.
The UN is lobbying governments to set aside 30% of their land and sea by 2030 for nature (currently 15% of land and 7% of the ocean have some protection).
We can all get inspired by this vision and be empowered to be nature-positive at work, at home, and in our communities.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE NATURE-POSITIVE?
Nature-Positive goes beyond damage limitation. It’s not just about minimising negative impact, but also enhancing, restoring, and repairing ecosystems.
A Nature-Positive approach enriches biodiverse habitats and wildlife, stores carbon, purifies water, reduces flooding and soil erosion, reduces pandemic risk… and so much more. All of which increase social and environmental resilience.
Traditional environmental messaging has focussed on fear and guilt to try to get us to take action. This can sometimes be effective, but often makes us feel overwhelmed or switch off.
The beauty of the Nature-Positive approach is that it is inspirational, inclusive, and gives us hope for a better future.
BENEFITS OF A NATURE-POSITIVE ECONOMY
Even when we just look at the world through the narrow lens of the economy, nature is essential.
A World Economic Forum 2020 report highlighted that business-as-usual is no longer an option.
Furthermore, it identified that a Nature-Positive Economy can create 395 million new jobs and over $10 trillion in business opportunities.
Expanding areas under conservation could yield a return of at least $5 for every $1 spent and boost global economic output by $250 billion annually – every aspect of human society requires healthy functioning ecosystems.
HOW TO BE NATURE-POSITIVE IN YOUR ORGANISATION
The first step is to take responsibility to ensure our professional actions reflect our personal values.
Leading by example can positively influence our colleagues, suppliers, and industry – unlocking a ripple effect of change (doing nothing enables the status quo).
Here’s how to be Nature-Positive in your organisation:
– REMOVE support from investments, clients, or suppliers whose business practices degenerate nature
(fossil fuels, industrial agriculture, deforestation, plastics…)
– ADD support to investments, clients, and suppliers whose business practices regenerate nature
(renewable energy, regenerative agriculture, seaweed farming, rewilding…)
– Getnaturepositive.com is a brilliant resource brimming with ideas for actions and case studies for inspiration for every sector.
Many of the Nature-based Solutions that need to take place this decade don’t yet have a clear market value, or viable business model so there’s an urgent need to support charities delivering tangible, Nature-based Solutions in the UK.
Donating to the Devon Environment Foundation enables us to identify and nurture pioneering Nature-Positive projects so they can replicate and scale.
If you have access to significant funds, and want advice on where to put it for maximum positive effect, The Environmental Funders Network is another excellent resource with a mission to increase the amount of financial support for environmental causes and to improve philanthropic effectiveness through collaborations.
DEF’S NATURE-POSITIVE PROJECTS
The DEF specialises in supporting pioneering, grassroots Nature-Positive projects in the UK.
We work as an environmental kick-starter, channelling funds to the most promising and most impactful Nature-based Solutions, enabling them to replicate and scale.
One of the best things about Nature-Positive initiatives are that they are very compelling and offer hope, so more people want to get involved.
Supporting Nature-Positive projects in Devon is a great way to share positive news stories that engage and inspire customers and employees.
Here are a few examples of some of DEF’s brilliant and hopeful projects:
Wildlife Wardens: exemplary and replicable system providing training and resources to empower local volunteers to create more space for wildlife habitat in their communities.
Regenerative School: growing the next generation of regenerative farmers who will go on to tenant/own land and move the needle on land-use in Devon over the coming decade.
Flete Field Lab: experimenting to create recipes with mycelium and biochar to clean up water and enhance soil without the use of chemical fertilisers.
River Corridors and Beavers: turning rivers into nature corridors to enable wildlife to thrive, preventing water pollution, and introducing beavers to create carbon-rich, biodiverse wetlands.
Seaweed Farming: pioneering pilot to prove the economic, social and environmental benefits of seaweed farming, which include carbon sequestration and providing habitat.
Exmoor Tree Nursery: collecting native seeds to grow resilient saplings for planting in the uplands to enhance biodiversity and prevent downstream flooding.
Water Voles: reintroducing this keystone species to British waterways, to enhance biodiversity and the health of local rivers and wetlands.
Till the Coast is Clear: adventure beach cleaning activities to reach the parts of the coast that other cleaners can’t reach, engaging the community and having fun while cleaning up plastic pollution.
We have many more projects in the pipeline and welcome support from organisations who want to be nature-positive.
CALLS TO ACTION
Here are a few actions and resources to help you on your journey to becoming more Nature-Positive:
–Donate: To any of the above charities or to DEF to Support Grassroots Nature Regeneration Projects
–Reconnect: Try to spend time outside in nature every day!