Biodiversity and Nature Based Solutions
The age of industrialization has brought colossal damage to Planet Earth. As the war cry for Climate Change gains momentum, the societal destruction and negative externalities associated with the Biodiversity crisis are often overlooked. According to WWF, around a million animal and plant species face extinction, causing natural imbalances within our habitat. The eradication of biodiversity has far overreaching consequences for our ecosystem both in the short and long run than what meets the eye. Preservation of natural ecosystems helps in sequestering carbon footprints, territorial ecosystems store three times the amount of carbon dioxide found in the atmosphere (IUCN), linking both climate action and biodiversity together. As global urbanization increases to ~50%, humanity is fast losing its touch with mother nature. The social costs associated with loss of the biodiversity-ecosystem are difficult to measurable with IMF estimates of global subsidy from undercharging for energy and its environmental costs in 2017 alone a staggering $5.2 trillion, or 6.5 percent of world GDP.
Biodiversity conservation as a theme encompasses reforestation, protection of wetlands and oceans, chiefly promotes ecosystem adaption through nature-based solutions.
“Nature-based solutions work with Mother Nature to enhance, build, enable and protect the natural ecosystem for promotion of wellbeing and harmony for humanity through holistic and sustainable measures and interventions.” The middle Road
Many entities are champions of biodiversity conservation spearheaded by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a membership union, involving government and civic societies with 1800 experts and 1400 member organizations. World Wide Fund for Nature, United Nations are other global organizations driving social change and impact within the natural ecosystem. IRIS+ part of GIIN, a global champion of impact investing, works with a working group to develop industry standards for themes furthering sustainability, an inclusive and equitable world example climate, education, upcoming biodiversity, etc.
# Nature Based Solutions & Thailand
As civic activism spreads globally, our understanding and implementation of the nature-based solution are still at a nascent stage and a lot needs to be done. Wet Lands is one area with visible traction where many actors within the development sector are working on projects to safeguard coastal ecosystems. Mangroves are an excellent example of nurturing the coastal ecosystem through nature-based solutions. Example projects in Cuba, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. 5.1 percent of Cuba’s land area with 70 percent of its coasts are Mangroves. 1 Removal of mangrove trees for urban, rural, or shrimp farming businesses leads to both short-term and long-term eradication of marine and coastal ecosystems.
Nature-based solutions foster better sustainable practices enhancing an increase in the biodiversity of the ecosystem. Superior farming and fishing techniques lower the carbon footprint in the atmosphere along with other positive outcomes. Take the example of the mangrove project in Thailand. Farmers in the Andaman Coast in southern Thailand are dissuaded from cutting down Mangrove forests for shrimp farming by appraising them of tress utility in attracting bees among other reasons. This aspect when harnessed through know-how augments a positive externality. In this case, the establishment of ~300 beehives in the village, leading to sustainable livelihood for the people, an outcome with a positive externality (i.e. higher income from honey-based products, entrepreneurship, community building).