Subhamoy Das is an amateur photographer and writes on climate change and environmental issues. He is a nature wanderer and a hunter-gatherer of memorable moments from the wild. He particularly loves bird photography and is an ornithology enthusiast passionate about wildlife conservation and eco-tourism. You can tune into his Sustainability News Podcasts on the BoE website. Follow him @ twitter.com/subhamoy_das

Led by former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright, 23 former foreign ministers from North America, Europe, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and the Pacific recently released a statement calling for stronger conservation protections of land and oceans for the sake of the planet, as well as national security. 

The solution they layout for the “deepening global environmental crisis” is “setting a global target of strongly protecting at least 30 per cent of the land and 30 per cent of the ocean by 2030.”   

A Campaign for Nature 

Since 2018, the National Geographic Society has been working with Wyss Foundation’s Campaign for Nature (CFN) to raise global awareness of the threats facing the natural world and inspire world leaders to take action to protect it. 

As part of this goal, CFN brought together 23 ministers from countries around the world to give impetus to international collaboration for bold action that is urgently needed to end the biodiversity and climate crises. 

Why 30 Percent

Based on scientific research, CFN has established a new spatial target to protect at least 30% of the planet – land and sea – by 2030 as an interim goal toward protecting half of the earth. Protecting at least 30% of land and oceans by 2030 is a low-cost, immediately available and science-backed solution to the extinction crisis. 

Top scientists say we need half of the planet in its natural state to prevent the extinction of one million species, stay below 1.5°C, and safeguard all people that rely on nature to survive and thrive. We can start by protecting 30% by 2030.

CFN called on world leaders to commit to protecting at least 30% of the planet by 2030, help mobilize additional financial resources to ensure protected areas are properly managed and take an approach to biodiversity conservation that fully integrates and respects indigenous leadership and indigenous rights.

How to Get to 30 Percent

It’s not just about protecting 30 per cent, it’s about protecting the right 30 per cent. Today, only 15 per cent of land and 7 per cent of our ocean are protected. But nature needs more, and world leaders need to dramatically boost ambition in order to protect the natural world. 

The statement was signed by the former ministers of the United States, Germany, Egypt, Canada, Portugal, Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria, Greece, El Salvador, Estonia, UK, Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Bulgaria, Israel, Mexico, Italy, Argentina, Spain and Australia. It comes in advance of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Kunming, China, scheduled for October 2020, where the final agreement is expected to be signed.  

What’s the Value of the Natural World? 

Well, it provides critical resources that sustain all life on Earth including human life and there is no substitute for all the ecosystem services nature provides. Consider this data:

  • 70% – The Portion of total freshwater consumption that’s used for agriculture
  • $125 trillion – the value of services provided by nature each year 
  • One-Third – Potential contribution of nature to global climate change mitigation efforts 
  • 2.6 billion tons – Amount of carbon dioxide that forests remove from the atmosphere each year 
  • 6,000 – Plant species that have been cultivated for food 
  • 200 million – people who depend on coral reefs to protect against storm surge & flooding 

Thinking Beyond the Economic Value of the Climate Crisis

Today more than 65% of the ocean and 75% of the land has been severely altered by humans. The ongoing and rapid loss of natural areas across the world is posing a grave threat to clean air and clean drinking water, the survival of wildlife, the prosperity of communities, and the world’s ability to protect itself from severe weather, floods, catastrophic wildfires, and other impacts of a changing climate. Once gone, we cannot recreate, the $125 trillion in economic value that the natural world provides us each year.

Is There Any Hope?

Yes! We know that when left alone, nature can heal itself. To conserve what is left, we must act now. Our future depends on it. The world is uniting to protect and heal the planet. We need transformative change. And all of us have a role to play. 

How Can You Help?

With more than one million species at risk of extinction, we need bold action and we need it now. It is not enough to just have scientists or world leaders call for it. It needs people like you and me to come together from all over the planet and call for urgent action.

Join the call to protect at least 30% of the planet’s land and ocean by 2030: Sign the 30×30 for Nature Petition 

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