Guardian: A natural solution to the climate disaster

Climate and ecological crises can be tackled by restoring forests and other valuable ecosystems, say scientists and activists

(NOTE: This letter (from naturalclimate.solutions) was published in The Guardian April 03,2019)

Trees planted on upland moor to improve wildlife habitat in Cumbria, UK.
Trees have been planted on upland moor to improve wildlife habitat in Cumbria, UK. Photograph: Wayne Hutchinson/Alamy

The world faces two existential crises, developing with terrifying speed: climate breakdown and ecological breakdown. Neither is being addressed with the urgency needed to prevent our life-support systems from spiralling into collapse. We are writing to champion a thrilling but neglected approach to averting climate chaos while defending the living world: natural climate solutions. This means drawing carbon dioxide out of the air by protecting and restoring ecosystems.

George Monbiot
George Monbiot

By defending, restoring and re-establishing forests, peatlands, mangroves, salt marshes, natural seabeds and other crucial ecosystems, large amounts of carbon can be removed from the air and stored. At the same time, the protection and restoration of these ecosystems can help minimise a sixth great extinction, while enhancing local people’s resilience against climate disaster. Defending the living world and defending the climate are, in many cases, one and the same. This potential has so far been largely overlooked.

We call on governments to support natural climate solutions with an urgent programme of research, funding and political commitment. It is essential that they work with the guidance and free, prior and informed consent of indigenous people and other local communities.

This approach should not be used as a substitute for the rapid and comprehensive decarbonisation of industrial economies. A committed and well-funded programme to address all the causes of climate chaos, including natural climate solutions, could help us hold the heating of the planet below 1.5C. We ask that they are deployed with the urgency these crises demand.

Signed by:

Greta Thunberg Activist (Wikipedia, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube)
Margaret Atwood Author (Wikipedia, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook)
Michael Mann Distinguished professor of atmospheric science (Wikipedia, Penn State, RealClimate.org)
Naomi Klein Author and campaigner (Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook)
Mohamed Nasheed Former president, the Maldives (Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook)
Rowan Williams former Archbishop of Canterbury (Wikipedia)
Dia Mirza Actor and UN environment goodwill ambassador (Wikipedia, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook)
Brian Eno Musician and artist (Wikipedia, Instagram, Facebook, MySpace)
Philip Pullman Author (Wikipedia, Twitter)
Bill McKibben Author and campaigner (350.org, Wikipedia, Twitter)
Simon Lewis Professor of global change science (Wikipedia, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook)
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Presenter and author (Wikipedia, Twitter)
Charlotte Wheeler Forest restoration scientist (UofEdinburgh, Twitter)
David Suzuki Scientist and author (Wikipedia)
Anohni Musician and artist (Wikipedia, Instagram, Youtube)
Asha de Vos Marine biologist (Wikipedia, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube)
Yeb Saño Activist (Youtube, Twitter)
Bittu Sahgal Founder, Sanctuary Nature Foundation (Wikipedia, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube)
John Sauven Executive director, Greenpeace UK (Wikipedia, Twitter)
Craig Bennett CEO, Friends of the Earth (Wikipedia, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook)
Ruth Davis Deputy director of global programmes, RSPB (Wikipedia, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube)
Rebecca Wrigley Chief executive, Rewilding Britain (Youtube)
George Monbiot Journalist (Wikipedia, Twitter)