The Decade of Action (2020-2029) began with a bang. After facing the warmest decade on record (2010-2019), the hopes of getting some relief were quickly dashed by the Covid-19 crisis. And although the pandemic-induced lockdown provided a breather to natural ecosystems and allowed them to thrive, the situation was only temporary. Before the year ended, back-to-back natural disasters in all parts of the world have provided the unmistakable sign of climate change at full force.
Since the Industrial Revolution, human actions have become the main cause of climate change across the globe. Population explosion and its resulting rise in our consumption patterns, dietary habits, rapid urbanization, etc. are contributing to global warming. But according to some scientists, particularly significant drivers have been deforestation, irrigation, and grazing.
Climate change cannot be reversed. We have reached a tipping point already. The climate is changing – be it flash floods, melting glaciers, or unending droughts. Our consumption patterns are expected to increase in the coming decades. So all that’s left to do is adapt to the changing environment and do everything in our power to minimize the damage.
It’s time to call for all-out action to tackle the climate crisis on a war footing. Among the many suggested solutions, one that is increasingly gaining attention is – Nature-based Solutions (NbS). These solutions can help us to conserve or restore ecosystems while removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. They can truly help us meet our Paris agreement goals. It can regulate water flows and manage the extreme effects of climate change. A PNAS study estimates that NbS could help contribute almost 20% mitigation until 2050 in keeping global warming below 2 degrees celsius. Of course, the remaining 80% has to be achieved through emissions reductions in all industries including energy, transportation, building, etc. NbS in infrastructure has averted flooding damages worth US$ 57 billion in countries like China, India, Mexico, US and Vietnam.
That’s why making smart investments in nature is the only way forward.
There is a dearth of examples of groundbreaking yet simple NbS in nature – in forestry, wetlands, agriculture and oceans. Be it Seedballs Kenya introducing a method of mass-producing seed balls for the low-cost and efficient reintroduction of trees species into degraded areas in Africa. Or Solubag, a group of companies in Chile, that’s created a biodegradable material as an alternative to plastic.
Will – That’s All It Takes to Adopt Nature-based Solutions
The carbonization of global economies poses a serious threat to reduce our carbon emissions. Today, our heavy reliance on fossil fuels and industrialization needs to change. In every small and big way. If a certain product has a large carbon footprint, we have to actively take measures to replace it. If it’s a fossil fuel factory, we have to find a way to turn it into a factory run on clean energy.
At the onset there will be challenges. Public and private stakeholders will likely have to make heavy investments in the initial phase, but the returns will be in our favour. There’s no doubt about it. A UN report states that turning to nature-reliant economies could create annual business opportunities worth $10 trillion that could create 395 million jobs by 2030.
But these opportunities cannot be created unless public and private drivers join hands. Incentivizing the green economy and giving an impetus for private players to make investments in this sector will propel us towards a sustainable future. At the same time, utilizing NbS and pushing for more innovations is essential. That’s why WeNaturalists is bringing together people and organizations who are paving the way for nature and climate solutions – who can further inspire and influence others around the world to create a global-local impact.
As I mentioned before, NbS cannot solve the climate crisis. But it can certainly decrease its intensity. Researchers and climate scientists are constantly trying to understand just what the effect of human actions will be on the environment. Unpredictable climate behaviour is inevitable. And this change is bringing a crisis in business. Making nature a part of businesses is the need of the hour. The time for action is now.
Views of the author are personal and do not necessarily represent the website’s views.
Amit Banka founded WeNaturalists in 2019 with a simple motive – to give a purpose to people’s passion for nature. Apart from being a successful entrepreneur, he is also an ardent nature lover, wilderness explorer, and bird photographer.
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The CSR Journal Team