Nature Needs Half: You and the Global Deal for Nature

April 23rd, 2019 - by The Global Deal for Nature

Petition to World Leaders:

I urge you to support a Global Deal for Nature that safeguards half the Earth with a milestone of protecting 30% of lands and oceans by 2030. Scientists say this bold target is needed to prevent the extinction crisis, halt runaway climate change, feed the world, and ensure a healthy planet for future generations. The agreement must ensure our living planet is sustainably managed; must have the active support of indigenous peoples; and must address the needs of human development. 

(April 22, 2019) — Human survival has never been more directly related to the protection, expansion, and restoration of wilderness. Every day new information comes to light that exposes the public to what you and I have known for years: in nature, nothing exists in isolation.

While some persist in thinking climate change and biodiversity loss are separate problems, a growing number of advocates are discovering that they are, in fact, intimately and inextricably entwined. Since the inception of life on Earth, wild nature and climate have added up to one Earth, a one-of-a-kind system so mysterious and complex scientists are only now beginning to understand its many linkages.

This system regulates weather, produces oxygen, enriches soils, and mediates a sophisticated biological government of checks and balances safeguarding the narrow range of conditions that make life, including human life, possible.

The biodiversity-climate feedback loop is the ecological safety net of life.
And we don’t have a back-up plan.

Because of the countless interrelationships in this feedback loop, the health of Earth’s biodiversity is directly related to the health of our climate. Defending the relationship between biodiversity and climate should be the foremost priority of every world leader. Should the rate of change in our biosphere increase suddenly and steeply, we can expect a corresponding change in the climate . . . and in our civilization.

As the world’s ecosystems move rapidly towards tipping points, so too goes the climate and humanity’s life-support systems. We are now crossing into uncharted waters having created for ourselves ecological challenges on a scale no prior generation has ever confronted. We have tampered with the stable basis for life on Earth. And we now know that the very feedback loop that once secured stability for life can turn into the exact opposite . . .

Fortunately for us, we still have time to act. Even better, we know the first step we must take to avert a planetary catastrophe. Now, we must implement it, swiftly and conclusively.

The first step we must take toward a stable, healthy future is simple. We must merge the biodiversity and the climate change debates in official negotiations, and secure firm commitments from the global community to treat nature—all of nature—with respect.

While the dangers of climate change are now widely understood, biodiversity loss is still absent from the top priorities of world leaders.  It is not yet perceived as a threat equal to that of climate change, or as a crucial element of human health and well-being. Nevertheless, runaway biodiversity loss and its subsequent influence on climate would impact massively and immediately on some of the most necessary activities for healthy and thriving human communities, including:

  • Global food production, farming and agriculture.
  • Water supply and quality.
  • Clean air and abundant oxygen supply.
  • Stable weather patterns.
  • Human migration.
  • Stable political systems.

In fact, all the 17 sustainable development goals we’ve set out to achieve by 2030 are dependent on a healthy planet.
While the threats are many, hidden within the fundamental relationship between biodiversity and climate is an extraordinary opportunity. If biodiversity loss exacerbates the dangers of climate change and all that entails, its defense and protection (at the scale required) can produce a dramatic and much needed turnaround.

Wild nature, free nature, is the best greenhouse gas storage system we have. Protecting it sequesters carbon that, if released, would lead to temperature rise greater than 1.5 oC. 

Should we empower wild nature to utilize what is increasingly referred to as nature-based climate solutions (NBCS), we could draw even more carbon out of the atmosphere and create more time to implement zero carbon systems in our cities and industries. (Discover more details here.)

The benefit of NBCS doesn’t stop with climate. Re-greening the planet through the conservation and restoration of nature, with a goal of protecting 50% of Earth’s land and seas (Nature Needs Half), would help human communities by reducing the frequency and intensity of droughts, landslides, storms, heat waves, floods, and fire.

Best of all, no engineering is required! Nature does that for us. To fully mobilize the potential of nature-based climate solutions we must also:

  1. Put an immediate stop to destroying what’s left of intact, wild nature.
  2. Restore functional ecosystems and associated wildlife species.
  3. Scale-up the protection of the Earth through a Nature Needs Half approach for conserving biodiversity, improving both the quantity and quality of protected areas around the world, both on land (including freshwater) and in sea (Visit Nature Needs Half).
  4. Adopt a Planetary Healthy Diet taking climate, Nature Needs Half, and radical improvements in efficiency into account, which would eliminate food as the world’s single, largest cause of environmental change, including biodiversity loss (Discover more here.)

These thoughts are mirrored by scientific papers and social appeals released in recent weeks by organizations and scientists who are partners in the historic effort to preserve a wild and living Earth (see links below).

We are at a turning point. More and more people sense the urgency to act now. There is fresh momentum to live with respect for nature and halt the planetary threat to life. This momentum is visible in the actions of student climate protests around the world and new citizen initiatives like Extinction Rebellion.
We are waking up, and the time to get up is now. Tomorrow will be too late.

In this light, I ask for you to add your name to the Global Deal for Nature, a petition calling on world leaders to protect and restore half of Earth’s lands and seas. Your support for Natural Climate Solutions is also needed. And keep an eye out for the upcoming United Nations’ 2020 event for the Convention on Biological Diversity and Framework Convention on Climate Changes, when WILD (on behalf of Nature Needs Half) will empower publics around the world to encourage world leaders to defend the nature we need to survive and thrive.
With your help, we can keep Earth wild.

Action Links:

Yours in the spirit of our wild planet,
Vance G. Martin, President, WILD Foundation


Thriving nature is essential to life on Earth. The food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, are all pillars of human survival that depend on a series of delicately balanced interactions within the natural world.

But these systems are being thrown dangerously off balance by an onslaught of human activities. From pesticides on our fields, to plastics choking our oceans, to bulldozers in our forests, all over the planet the natural world is under assault. 

This crisis has now reached a scale that threatens everything. Species extinction is running at 1000 times the natural rate, and scientists warn that two-thirds of wild animal populations could be gone in our lifetimes. As with climate change, there is now growing concern that dangerous tipping points could be triggered, causing the collapse of key ecosystems and threatening human survival. 

Scientists are sounding the alarm, and people around the world are calling for a simple solution – protect and restore half of the planet in a natural state and sustainably manage all lands and oceans. The result is a planet where humanity and nature have a chance to flourish, even as global temperatures rise. 

This is the kind of ambitious, clear goal that inspires everyone — citizens, governments, and businesses — to take the steps needed to save life on Earth. And the key to making it happen will be a major UN summit in China set for October 2020, where governments establish new global targets to protect the planet. 

It’s being called a Global Deal for Nature and here’s how it can save life on Earth:      

  1. The world’s governments agree on a new global deal for nature, one that makes the crisis facing our natural world a top global priority and is handled at the highest levels — Presidents and Prime Ministers — at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and other forums.
  2. The agreement calls for protecting and restoring at least half of the planet and sustainably managing all the world’s lands and oceans, setting a clear milestone of at least 30% fully protected by 2030.
  3. The agreement must have the active support of indigenous peoples. We cannot protect the planet without traditional knowledge, stewardship practices, and sustainable livelihoods for those that live in or near conservation areas.
  4. The agreement must also include financial and technical support for the world’s poorest countries, which are also home to most of the planet’s remaining biodiversity, putting the needs of local communities front and center.
  5. The agreement requires each country to produce a National Nature Action Plan—a clear strategy to show how they intend to reduce negative human impacts on the environment, cut carbon pollution, and protect nature. These plans must be compatible with the Sustainable Development Goals to eliminate poverty, and with the Paris Climate Agreement goal of keeping global warming below 1.5˚C degrees in temperature rise.  

We know in our bones that our fate depends on our planet. We ARE nature. And to save it, we must be its voice! Let’s make sure that the world’s leaders cannot ignore our call for protecting half the Earth. 

Join the resounding chorus of human voices behind this Global Deal for Nature.

Scientists call for a ‘Global Deal for Nature’ to solve two interlinked crises – biodiversity loss and climate change
• A Global Deal for Nature: Guiding Principles, Milestones, and Targets
• Making Way for Nature-Based Solutions
• Nature’s Role in Climate Change
• Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT-Lancet Commission on Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems