Nature and Climate Change
The climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis are closely interlinked, so the way we address them must be too. Nature can play a critical role in adaptation and mitigation of climate change.
Climate change is having a significant impact on nature, from more droughts causing forest dieback/collapse, severe flooding devastating aquatic habitats, and fires destroying large habitats and species. For example, the 2019-20 Australian bush fires covered 18 million hectares, with an estimated billion animals and many more bats and insects dying as a result of lost habitat and food sources. (UNEP).
These are the increasingly frequent impacts on nature from Climate Change. As climate systems are changing rapidly, many ecosystems are also under increased stress and species cannot change and adapt to these rapidly changing temperatures and conditions.
A number of species like the native Tuatara are dependent on a stable range of temperature to ensure a mix of gender in offspring. As a result of warming temperatures, there is an accelerating decline in the proportion of females in the population.
These are just a few examples of how nature is being impacted. Climate change affects all living systems on earth so it needs the collective efforts of humans to help address both of these global crises.
The positive news is that these impacts of Climate Change can be addressed by regenerating nature through restoring waterways and wetlands, restoring forests and tree cover, and regenerating our oceans and foreshores. These actions help build resilience to the impacts of Climate change. They also help save our taonga species by providing habitat where they can thrive.