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How nature can save us from climate breakdown

Posted by John Sauven - 3rd April 2019

The world is in crisis. Greenhouse gas emissions are changing the climate. And our food system is destroying the natural world, wiping out insect and bird populations – and pushing the systems we depend on for our survival to the very brink of collapse. 

More than fossil fuels

The conversation about how to stop climate change overwhelmingly focuses on fossil fuels – coal, oil  and gas. Of course we need to stop burning fossil fuels, but focusing on dirty energy alone is not enough. Forest destruction – and the rotten agriculture system that drives it – are together responsible for up to 30% of climate changing emissions.

Reversing this destruction – which means changing what we eat and transforming how we produce it – is the fastest, cheapest, and most socially just way to reduce our emissions.

Natural climate solutions

So if we are serious about tackling climate change, we need to invest in the wholesale restoration of forests like the Amazon and other important natural ecosystems like the Cerrado in Brazil and the peatlands of Indonesia. These vital ecosystems draw down huge amounts of carbon dioxide out of the air, storing the carbon in the trees and soils. They also provide other essential functions, from aiding climate stability and regulation of the hydrological cycle to supporting wildlife and the culture of untold millions of people who rely upon them for their way of life.

New campaign

Today, George Monbiot – environmental journalist – is launching a new campaign to get support for these ‘natural climate solutions’. To coincide with the launch, the campaign has released this animation that explains how nature can save us from climate breakdown.

Written & Narrated by George Monbiot Design, Direction & Animation: Al Boardman Sound Design: Owen Shirley Music: Pat Mottram / Audio Network

Climate striker, Greta Thunberg and author/activist/filmmaker, Naomi Klein are among those who have come out in support of the campaign. Here at Greenpeace we recognise how important these ‘natural climate solutions’ are to solving the climate crisis so we’re proud to support it too.

Companies & governments need to do more

Companies and governments keep saying they will fix the rotten food system that’s fuelling deforestation. Despite their commitments, the world’s largest companies continue to drive the loss of millions of hectares of forest every year – for soya for factory-farmed chickens, for palm oil to fuel our cars and for the pulpwood that makes throw-away packaging. It’s high time they pulled their fingers out and started paying for the restoration the planet needs for our survival.

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About John Sauven

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Executive director of Greenpeace UK.