22 April – Earth Day. On the United Nations website – International Mother Earth Day. Another day to acknowledge all the wonder and beauty of Mother Nature and all she does for us. Another chance to hear her urgent call for action to make different choices about how we as humans live on this Earth. What will you do to Invest in our Planet?

You can’t escape the dire news about the state of the natural world. It comes at us from all angles these days whether it is COP this, IPBES report that, IPCC report the other. It can be so confusing and rather overwhelming.

The vernacular of sustainability and climate change now includes biodiversity crisis, ecosystem services loss and potentially a next mass extinction.

So we have Global Goals, the Global Biodiversity Framework, Inner Development Goals and now Nature-based Solutions.

The purpose of my post here this Day for Mother Earth is simply to provide a bunch of links to the sorts of things I have been reading on this subject lately…. Grist for the mill in my journey to do my bit for the planet. May you find something here to inspire you, motivate you and give you hope as you either have a quick scan through a few ideas here or take some time to delve into the detail…..

Nature-based Solutions

From the IUCN website Nature-based SolutionsTM leverage nature and the power of healthy ecosystems to protect people, optimise infrastructure and safeguard a stable and biodiverse future.

The Nature-based Solutions Initiative is an interdisciplinary programme of research, education and policy advice based in the Department of Biology at the University of Oxford. Its mission is to enhance understanding of the potential of nature-based solutions to address multiple global challenges whilst supporting the health of ecosystems and respecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

These two figures are taken from the IUCN Global Standards for Nature-based Solutions document. I have found the distillation of the Nature-based Solutions concept and the eight criteria into these graphics incredibly helpful in making sense of all this.

This article from Global Citizen makes for an interesting read as to who is at the forefront of this whole Nature-based Solutions gig – 7 Groups leading the way with Nature-based Solutions

Rewilding – a Nature-based Solution

What is Rewilding? Again, Global Citizen provides some insight into this particular Nature-based Solution.

Want to sequester carbon? Save wild animals.  –  one of many articles out there now talking us through the benefits of rewilding and wildlife conservation, not just for biodiversity conservation but also for tackling the climate crisis and the flow-on effects for the wellbeing of humanity.

At the end of the day it is about Coexistence. Humanity nature-connecting back with Mother Earth.

Here is how Conservation International put it  – natural climate solutions are at the heart of Conservation International’s work. These are actions that conserve, restore or improve the use or management of ecosystems while maintaining their capacity to absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere. Nature could get us at least 30 percent of the way to solving the climate crisis, while also providing a host of additional benefits — filtering fresh water, providing breathable air — that other approaches to climate change don’t offer. Even better: Nature can do this today — for free.

The Human Angle of Nature-based Solutions

At the heart of all this is decisions we make and the actions we take individually and collectively each day. Understanding what governs human behaviour is critical to making the most of Nature-based Solutions or any other problem-solving we do around our present environmental crisis. The work of Rare.org makes for a fascinating look into the social science around our behaviours and harnessing this human power for good.

Check this out from Rare as well:

Intro to Climate Culture

Climate Culture program

Nature-based Solutions Close to Home

Here is a short list (in no particular order) of incredible organisations and initiatives that have Nature-based Solutions at their heart. There are many more, for sure, but just to highlight a few that are close to home for me. This represents different scales, different missions and ways of approaching Nature-based Solutions. What unites them all is deep and passionate connection with Nature, Wildlife, Wild Spaces and Communities – a Conservation Collective. A dedication and profound understanding that we have no other choice but to pursue this great work of protecting, conserving, restoring and rewilding Mother Earth.

Peace Parks Foundation is on the ground in some of the most incredibly beautiful and biodiversity-significant areas of Southern Africa about the work of rewilding amongst other Nature-based Solutions. Have a look at this playlist – Peace Parks TV – rewilding

The work of Elephants Alive continues to inspire me. The goal of happy elephant-human coexistence always at the forefront of their work as they research conservation science-based solutions to the challenges we face in conserving elephants. I have had the privilege of spending a little time with this team. I particularly love their bees & trees project and their coexistence garden.

Kingsley Holgate Foundation  –  The legendary gentleman who lends his name to this foundation and his amazing team make good things happen. They are practical things that meet immediate and often overlooked needs of rural communities adjacent to protected areas. Kingsley and his team listen, they collaborate and they catalyse and wonderful things happen for people and as a flow-on for the wildlife and wild places where these communities live.

More inspiration from my good friend, Carla Geyser, founder of Blue Sky Society. Her passion, vision and drive for this work is infectious. It is one of the joys of my life to be able to support her even in just the small way I am able – Blue Sky Society de-snaring fund

The Tanglewood Foundation’s Albany Thicket Restoration project is certainly a Nature-based Solution. And there is what Peter Eastwood, founder of the Tanglewood Foundation says about another of his other brilliant initiatives – Koru Camp  – “We can not expect the community to love and embrace the wildlife and natural places if they are excluded from them.”

I recommend a read of Rewilding Africa by another legend, Grant Fowlds.

Babanango Game Reserve  – A genunine community conservation and rewilding story in the heart of Zululand. A truly magical wild space where over 75% of the land is leased from the communities. A Nature-based Solution partnership that empowers its people, restores biodiversity and conserves wildlife.

Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation  – I think this says it all – Founded by world-renowned conservationist Dr. Lawrence Anthony in 2004, we are dedicated to forwarding his legacy. The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization (LAEO) is a non-profit, non-partisan, issue-oriented organization. Our members come from all walks of life, from all cultures, races and religious backgrounds, all motivated by a common cause, to reverse the decline of life on Earth, and create a healthy habitable Planet, and of which we can be proud.

African Conservation Voices Media Labs are a partnership between the African Wildlife Foundation and Jackson Wild, designed to provide mentorship and skill-building to early career African conservation filmmakers. The short films here are simply stunning – Mama Africa’s authentic voice.

Happy Day, Earth Mother 💙💚🧡