Nature Positive: Explained

21 April 2023 - // Beyond
Stuart Reigeluth
Founder of REVOLVE
Athena Fosler-Brazil
Trainee Correspondent, REVOLVE

Active protection and restoration can reverse biodiversity loss and make the planet nature positive by 2030.

The term “Nature Positive” made headlines at UN Biodiversity COP15 in Montreal (7-19 December 2022) and is referred to in the G7 2030 Nature Compact. Nature Positive is gaining ground in the context of sustainable business and development. But what does “nature positive” really mean?

The World Wildlife Fund’s Nature Positive initiative defines it as the need to:

Halt and reverse nature loss measured from a baseline of 2020, through increasing the health, abundance, diversity and resilience of species, populations and ecosystems.

The key distinction between Nature Positive and other sustainability frameworks is the implicit idea of a net positive impact on nature. It is not just about being environmentally conscious but also involves restoring and regenerating nature through both the public and private sectors.

Biodiversity loss is a reality of our times that is scientifically proven by the tragic depletion and indeed extinction of thousands and thousands of species. According to Elizabeth Kolbert, we are living through the “Sixth Extinction” – the defining era of the Holocene epoch – in which human activities are causing severe climate altercations, including massive ‘die-offs’.

The visual above shows the loss of nature in our contemporary world and represents the restoration of nature post-2030, whereby the deeper greens to the right symbolize the recovery of +30% of nature as defined by the environmental goals set at COP15.

Via a new set of stripes, REVOLVE brings together past, present and future in an abstract depiction of reality.

REVOLVE’s visualization was inspired by the biodiversity stripes by Miles Richardson and the Nature Positive concept visual by WWF to go beyond 2030 towards a greener world again.

Nature Positive requires a combination of mitigation and conservation, and mandates buy-in from both governments and business.

A net positive impact on nature means that in 2030 there will be more nature than since the decades prior to and after the turn of the 21st century. An analysis of the concept from Oxford University explains that “net” implies a recognition that human development will continue to have detrimental environmental impacts, but they will be offset by investment in the environment elsewhere.

Cambridge University defines this as the need for “our economic and financial systems to fully account for and actively protect and restore nature.” This will require a paradigm shift in every sector and in the minds of individuals, to view nature as the thing from which all life flourishes and recognize the urgent need to protect and restore the environment.

A nature positive framework

In the 2030 Nature Compact, G7 leaders committed to “the global mission to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030,” noting in section C that “our world must not only become net zero, but also nature positive.” This term emanates from the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework that set goals to restore 30% of global degraded ecosystems by 2030, stop the extinction of species and by 2050, reduce by tenfold the extinction rate and risk of all species and tackle climate change through nature-based solutions. These goals will require a “Nature Positive” framework that puts the restoration of nature at the heart of solutions.

Stuart Reigeluth
Founder of REVOLVE
Athena Fosler-Brazil
Trainee Correspondent, REVOLVE

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