Why halting nature loss is not enough: setting our sights on nature positive

© naturepl.com / Anup Shah / WWF
© WWF-US / Keith Arnold

What we mean when we talk about nature

It is therefore important to define our terms. First, by nature itself, we include not only living organisms, but the ecosystems within which they live. Second, nature positive by 2030 means that, by that date, nature is visibly and measurably on the path of recovery, such that there is more nature than in 2020. Third, living in harmony with nature by 2050 means that our natural systems have fully recovered. Different cultures describe this harmony and the pathway to it in different ways; in China, a framing of ‘Ecological Civilisation’ is embraced, while in Bolivia respecting Pachamama, or Mother Earth, guides their conservation and development.

© Meridith Kohut/WWF-US

Measuring the unique

Measuring how nature loss is declining or being reversed is also a significant challenge. We have more data than ever regarding the populations and health of species, changes in ecosystems and their functionality, and the natural processes that affect them such as extreme flooding in rivers and acidified oceans. Yet we only have a broad sense of how healthy or not the planet is.

© Paul Mckenzie / WWF-HK

On the road to nature positive

“Contribute” is an important verb here. As is argued in a recent discussion paper from Business For Nature, how businesses can become nature positive is “the subject of debate and confusion”, which risks undermining the concept.

© Sonja Ritter / WWF

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