Without action, commitment and strategy we are aimlessly walking into a perilous dystopian future. Nature Needs Half, the global campaign to protect 50% of the planet by 2030 is ambitious and yet, it is a necessity for future generations and inhabitants of the Earth that we cannot afford to delay on.
Nature Needs Half (NNH) is an international coalition of scientists, conservationists, nonprofits, and public officials defending nature in order for it to continue to function for the benefit of all life, and support human well-being. The NNH movement was established by the WILD Foundation in 2009.
What’s the goal/ objective?
“Protect 50% of the planet by 2030.”
The aim is to transform society’s relationship with nature and by turning the existing tide in favour of the Earth’s life support system.
Setting aside 50% of the planet for nature is the most efficient and effective way to address both climate change and extinction, which will protect the livelihoods of 1.6 billion people.
More than 1/3 of all remaining intact wild areas are stewarded by indigenous and local people. NHH fully supports and empowers local people to continue to manage their lands sustainably, as they do throughout the world. The NNH movement envisions a world were nature is protected divided into area categories, such as; sustainably managed, restored lands, and sustainable and efficient cities.
As of 2020, only 17% of Earth’s land and 10% of Earth’s seas are protected, we still have a little over half of Earth’s natural landscapes that are intact. By leaving these undisturbed, we can easily achieve half in the next decade according to the NNH website.
Why is it important?
Scientists have noted since the 1970s they have observed that natural landscapes begin to lose critically needed life-support functions after more than approximately 50% of the landscape is destroyed. However, the consequences are even more grave for fragile ecosystems like rainforests, whose range can be a lot higher e.g. 75-80%. With the erosion of these vital life-support functions within these landscapes, local inhabitants, both animals and people, will suffer. Destroying simply 1/4 of our remaining wild areas would irrevocably remove a critically necessary carbon sink that is natural and, best of all, occurring without any cost to society, which is instrumental in helping society avert the worst effects of climate change.
Without sufficient amounts of wild nature, we face the real possibility of letting temperatures rise by 2°C. Earth’s primary forests, grasslands and peat bogs store over 100 parts per million (ppm) carbon in soils and plants, carbon that must remain in the ground in order to not contribute to climate change. In order to mitigate the horrific effects of climate change, Earth must remain well under 450 ppm in the atmosphere. It was reported at the end of 2019, the world has just over 408 ppm in the atmosphere.
Everything is Connected –
Wildlife serves vitally important functions for all of life. Whales and sharks feed the phytoplankton that emits half of Earth’s oxygen. Rhinos and bats plant the trees and shrubs that stabilise regional climates and produce healthy air. The circle of life is key to all inhabitants of the earth, whether we appreciate it or not.
What about the animals and our wildlife?
The most severe threat to life and the greatest cause of extinction is habitat loss. Over one million species are projected to go extinct in the next fifty years, if there is not enough land/ habitat allocated to protect them.
Protected areas and sustainably managed and restored lands (areas where human communities dwell in harmony with nature) are at the epicentre of biodiversity and wildlife. However, as highlighted in a report covered by The Guardian “Humanity has wiped 60% of animal populations since 1970”. See the Living Planet Report from 2018 for more information. Species extinction is running at 1000 times the natural rate, and scientists warn that two-thirds of wild animal populations could be gone in our lifetimes.
Why should I care?
Have you ever contemplated; what produces the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soil that grows our food and the stability we count on? Wild nature also provides a livelihood for over 1.6 billion people. Local communities living in or near wild places count on forest for food and forage, oceans for enough fish to feed their families, and grasslands for places to graze their livestock. Without healthy wild places, hundreds of millions of human livelihoods would be negatively impacted in a global social upheaval and instability on an unprecedented scale.
Why now? Why before 2030?
In the next 20-30 years, we are on track to build 25 million km of roads (enough to encircle the Earth 600x), which is double the amount of building square footage across the planet, and fill the ocean with more plastic than there are fish. Recovering these important land and seascapes will be much more expensive after they have already been destroyed. Destroying our vital global ecosystems jeopardises life on Earth by removing essential parts in Earth’s wild, green engine.
The single most efficient and effective step we can take collectively to address climate change, end extinction, and defend human livelihoods, is to protect half the planet by 2030 while it is still functioning for the benefit of all life.
There is a UN Summit in China scheduled for April 2022, where governments will establish new global targets to protect the planet. It has been designated with the title a Global Deal for Nature. Driving awareness to the aforementioned issues and the movement overall ahead of this summit is one of the best ways to contribute to changing the tide on Climate Change.
What can you do now? How to get involved?
Sign the declaration, when you sign the Nature Needs Half declaration you publicly declare your support for a respectful relationship with nature and build momentum for change.
Check Out: Nature Needs Half – Why 50 –
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