A new report by the University of Oxford has identified four steps that every individual can take to reduce their carbon footprint- refrain, reduce, restore and renew- and mend the relationship with nature.
What is Happening?
- The paper, titled “The Mitigation and Conservation Hierarchy,” outlines four key steps on how to change our overall impact from negative to positive: 1- refraining from having a negative impact on nature, 2- reducing damage to nature where it cannot be completely avoided, 3- remediating any immediate damage inflicted on nature and 4- revitalising nature through investment.
- The researchers, from 22 institutions, led by Oxford’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science, argue that especially in the context of COVID-19, there has never been a more important time for this “bold vision,” and that everyone has a role to play in its delivery.
- The UN is currently developing a new post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework for the world to “live in harmony with nature” by 2050, which will be negotiated in Kunming, China, later this year.
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To this end, lead author Professor EJ Milner- Gulland, says, “We’re excited to launch this idea and hope that it will be useful to many different groups as they work to realise the vision of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. It’s a huge challenge, with many different facets, and we hope that Four Steps for the Earth will provide an intuitive and flexible framework for tying all the threads together.”
- The researchers say that the hierarchy is unique in that it enables many types of negative and positive impacts on nature to be accounted for within the same framework, adding that “it is focused on identifying actions which contribute towards an aspirational goal, such as leaving nature in a better state than we found it in.”
- However, the paper asserts that goals to reduce our carbon footprint must be met with concrete actions that will affect change across all sectors of society. Conservation actions need to therefore be incorporated into everyday actions and decisions of governments, businesses and individuals. This is especially important as the world looks to rebuild economies post-COVID-19.
- There is increasing recognition that business models are fundamentally tied to well-functioning ecosystems, and it is estimated that as much as USD$44 trillion (or half of global GDP) is “moderately” or “highly” dependent on nature.