Restoring Ecosystems as a Solution to Climate Change

The solutions to the natural problems the world is facing today are in nature.

Countries are spending billions in a bid to preserve natural forests and wetlands. However, the road to restoring ecosystems is not smooth and is often marred by political challenges.

Upon realizing the solutions needed to slow down climate change are in nature, 27 countries met in Paris in November 2019 to raise close to $10 billion for the Green Climate Fund, a UN program that seeks to help struggling countries combat climate. Although so many European countries promised funds towards the kitty, the problem of climate change needs more resources. However, this was an excellent start.


UN Climate Action Summit Proposed Nature-Based Solutions


In September 2019, the UN Summit meeting saw countries pledging more money to help preserve forests, restore major wetlands, and employ sustainable agricultural practices, especially in developing countries. However, the summit did not achieve its goals as the UN Secretary-General António Guterres has hoped for. The UN SC had hoped countries would pledge to cut down greenhouse gas emissions – but that never happened.


Allowing Nature to Recover


Human development projects have taken so much from nature, and this is why the world faces climate change. About 23 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions are a result of destructive land use.  Among that, deforestation and forest degradation are the worst causing at least 11 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. This means that reversing deforestation and forest degradation will eliminate more than 17 percent of the greenhouse gases.

Although planting trees is a great way to slow down climate change, reducing the greenhouse gases that developed countries emit will play a significant role in the recovery of nature.


Ecosystems Offer So Many Services to Humanity


Forests, prairies, wetlands, and mangroves are of significant service to the world. These ecosystems are habitats to some of the world’s endangered species, like the white Rhino and the Grevy’s Zebra. They are home to valuable plants and animals, and they are buffers to extremes of weather. Natural ecosystems are beautiful. 

When these ecosystems run without human interference, they suck in billions of tons of carbon. If the world can restore these natural ecosystems, climate change will be mitigated. According to studies, restoring forests alone can reduce a vast amount of human-caused emissions [1]. The world can also benefit from new tourist hubs and reduced that result from greenhouse warming.

Countries such as the UK are already doing so much to curb climate change. In the 2019 UN Climate Summit, the UK promised net0-zero emissions by 2050. The country also pledged to double its funding towards the restoration of ecosystems.

If only countries work with the UN Green Climate Fund, nature-based solutions will help mitigate climate change.

Although there is great potential in using nature to fight climate change, practicing and implementing the afforestation and other restoration measures is challenging. When the world plants more trees, emitters are never guilt-tripped when they emit more. As such, the solutions are void unless the world decides to reduce emissions. But restoring nature is a good start.