Natural Capital Expert: Why Green Finance Should Fund Nature Conservation

Francois Barnard
December 16, 2021

I’m Francois Barnard, a nature conservationist and conservation finance expert. In 2021, I joined Single.Earth as Natural Capital Lead to make a real impact on halting climate change.

Climate change and biodiversity loss are the greatest challenges of our time. Protected and conserved areas play a crucial role in addressing these twin threats, yet only 15% of land and 7% of territorial waters are currently protected.

However, this is inadequate:

  • The UN Convention on Biological Diversity is calling for 30% of the planet to be protected by 2030.
  • At the same time, initiatives like the Half-Earth Project are advocating for up to 50% of Earth to be protected by 2050.

There is, therefore, a major and immediate need to ramp up nature conservation efforts globally. Only then can we address the twin threats of climate change and biodiversity loss.

Keep reading to learn:

🌿 What is nature conservation?

🌿 Why is it important?

🌿 What do we need in order to ramp up nature conservation?

What is nature conservation?

Nature conservation can mean different things to different people. At its heart, though, is the desire to protect the Earth’s natural resources so it can have healthy habitats, functional ecosystems, and thriving biodiversity.

Likewise, nature conservation can take many forms:

  • Gazetted protected areas, like national parks
  • Conservation of private lands
  • Communal conservation efforts by indigenous peoples and local communities

Why is nature conservation important?

Nature supports all life on Earth.

Nature:

  • provides us with the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink.
  • regulates our climate and protects us against the impact of climate change.

Nature’s ability to provide us with goods and services has been estimated at $125 trillion per year. But it’s being eroded at a significant pace – mainly by us humans.

Here are some eye-opening facts:

  • Over the course of human history, 52% of Earth’s ecosystems have seen major degradation.
  • Since 1992, when the UN signed up to the Rio convention on biological diversity, 10% of the remaining wilderness on Earth has been lost.
  • We’ve lost 60% of all terrestrial wildlife in the last 50 years and 90% of big ocean fish in the last century.

We need nature conservation in order to stop this destruction, protect what we have left, and restore what we have lost.

This will enable nature to continue its life-giving services, like water provision, climate stabilization, and protection against adverse events like storms and floods.

What do we need to ramp up nature conservation?

First and foremost, we need capital. Nature conservation is faced with an ever-increasing funding gap - which will only be exacerbated by the expansion of conservation efforts and protected areas globally.

The biodiversity funding gap has been estimated at between $598 billion to $824 billion per year over the next ten years. Traditional sources of conservation funding, such as philanthropic donations and public funding are inadequate to address this funding gap – therefore, we need to develop new, innovative mechanisms to fund nature conservation.

At Single.Earth we are building exactly that. A way for everyone to make a positive climate impact with nature-backed finance.

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Single.Earth is growing fast to tackle the two biggest existential risks we are facing as humankind - climate change and biodiversity loss.

You have the chance to join us and save the world: check out open positions at Single.Earth.

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