Nature is essential to human health, well-being, and prosperity. We depend upon it for our very survival but we take it for granted. The natural world is in such a steep decline that we are at risk of destabilizing the very life-support systems we depend on for our own survival.
Three-quarters of the land and two-thirds of the marine environment have been significantly altered by human actions (IPBES, 2019). We have lost half of the world forests, half of the coral reefs, 70% of wetlands and dammed two-thirds of the world’s main rivers. Wildlife populations have on average declined by 60% since 1970 and there is the potential for our actions to cause the loss of 1 million species according to the most recent findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.
The science is clear. From now on we need to protect or sustainably manage the planet’s remaining natural habitats and resources. If we are to avoid dangerous climate change, secure our food systems and meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals we need to stop destroying and have much more nature in the near future than we have today.
Nature is the lifeline for the 7.6 billion people inhabiting planet earth. It underpins our well-being, and that of our societies and economies, and it is critical to achieving the majority of the sustainable development goals.