Climate change - together with the loss of global biodiversity - is the greatest challenge of our time. Strategies to tackle both problems include restoration projects and ecosystem protection, but these alone are not enough.
The effect of nature-based solutions
In 2015, the Paris Agreement introduced the ambitious goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. There are several approaches to this - from policy intervention to green investments.
One key approach is based on what already exists: the planet's existing ecosystems. This means focussing on existing trees first. Protecting our trees and restoring them where possible should be the central concern of all action, but this is not always the case.
The impact on the planet and the actual contribution to the overall reduction is still a matter of controversy in research. An analysis by nature.com now shows, “Nature-based strategies make a significant contribution to achieving climate targets. Provided we act in time.”
You can read all the facts and figures in this report. Why is this so important? Only intact ecosystems are able to store CO2. Every forest, every tree that is cut down, ultimately fails in the fight against global warming.
Not the only answer
Planting trees is an important approach - but it is not the only solution to the problem. We are also aware of these limitations. Forests can compensate, but they cannot prevent emissions themselves. We ourselves have this responsibility. We see tree planting as a tool in the toolbox. A powerful tool, but only one of many. Another is our lifestyle.
Everyone can play a small part in causing emissions. Because, contrary to popular misconception, our behaviour does not only influence our lives. If enough people change something about themselves, it makes big waves: companies, retailers or politicians react. This is how real change begins. History has taught us this many times.
We are in demand
Change is a big word. How do we start applying it to everyday life? Here you will find the recommendations of the United Nations Environment Programme, as a first clue to the lifestyle changes that will benefit the cause. I am sure you already have some ideas of your own!
Important: it does not always have to be complicated or drastic. Maybe next time you will bring your bike to work. It's not only good for the planet... it is also good for your health.
Attitude is a small thing that makes a big difference.
Let's start today. Together.