Ten years to save the planet. It doesn’t sound long enough. But our response to COVID-19 shows what we can do when we put our minds to it. While COVID-19 is an acute emergency, it has come from the chronic climate-nature emergency. While the economic recovery must be ‘green’, our road maps for net zero don’t yet include restoring nature and securing ‘nature plus’.
Yet if we don’t restore nature, we cannot meet net zero. Professor Partha Dasgupta’s review of The Economics of Biodiversity shows that economies are embedded in nature and that people are part of it, not apart from it. We need much higher rates of climate-nature literacy across society. This will drive changes in how we manage the land and sea to shift away from dependency on fossil fuels, monocultures and overexploitation of species to the restoration of diversity, richness and resilience of nature. If we think of nature-based solutions as coal-fired power stations, then restoring peatlands is equivalent to closing many Longannets. A just transition must be about both people and nature. Both natural and social sciences must come together in this UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. This lecture puts nature at the heart of our green recovery.
Francesca leads NatureScot work to enhance our natural environment and inspire the people of Scotland to care more about it. Working closely with the Scottish Government and partners, Francesca builds consensus on the vital role of nature-based, nature-rich solutions to the climate emergency and as a cornerstone of Scotland’s green recovery from Covid-19.