Helping Nature to Help Us
Natural solutions to living in a changing climate
This document is an update of the RSPB Scotland document, by the same name, published in 2008. That first version focussed on the types of habitats that can help us. This revised report focuses on solutions that nature provides to some of our most pressing problems.
“The future depends on what you do today.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com)
Helping Nature to Help Us – an introduction
Climate change is the single greatest long-term threat to people, wildlife and our environment. In Scotland, we need to prepare now for the impacts of a changing climate and understand the best ways to adapt our society, economy and environment. The way in which we help our natural environment adapt to climate change can bring huge benefits to society and the economy. If we look after nature, it
cost-effectively provide the can resource base and services we need in the face of a changing climate, and the threat from extreme weather events. RSPB Scotland manages habitats and ecosystems to conserve wildlife, because we believe we have a responsibility to safeguard Scotland’s nature. We want future generations to enjoy the myriad benefits it provides, such as clean air, flood prevention, biodiversity, carbon storage and clean water. RSPB Scotland understands that if we
help nature, it will help us to combat both the causes and consequences of climate change. It can provide us with a great variety of benefits, many of which we will need in the future – whatever happens to our climate. We need to buffer ourselves against climate trends and extreme weather events by planning for flexible and sustainable ways to adapt our lives. This document outlines how nature provides these real world solutions and highlights examples from Scotland.
“The truth is: the natural world is changing. And we are totally dependent on that world. It provides our food, water and air. It is the most precious thing we have and we need to defend it.” ― David Attenborough
Photo: Jim Densham
Climate Change – the background to action
Climate change is already being experienced across the world and in Scotland it is already having an impact on the environment. As a nation we need to both fight climate change and prepare ourselves for the inevitable changes. Limiting further climate change If we do nothing as a society to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we won’t be able to cope with the impact of a changing climate. We must limit further damage by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, and maximising the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) taken from the atmosphere and locked away in soil and vegetation. Adapting to the impacts of climate change Even if we stopped emitting greenhouse gases tomorrow, there would still be enough in the atmosphere to create significant climatic changes in years to come. In Scotland, we must adapt our way of life to these changes and the knock-on impacts. The way we live will be different in the future – the question is, what’s the best and most sustainable way to prepare ourselves? 1. We must help wildlife adapt, because many species can’t keep up with the rapid pace of climate
The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009
The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 sets the basis for Government action on climate change in Scotland in the years ahead. The Scottish Parliament has set an ambitious greenhouse gas reduction target of 42% by 2020, and an 80% reduction by 2050
change. Greater protection and care of the best sites for wildlife, and more sensitive management of the countryside, are essential to enable wildlife to become more robust and allow them to move to new areas of the country as the climate changes. 2. We must help society adapt. Being prepared for climate change and reducing the risk of hardship involves proper planning and action. Each sector of the economy and society will...
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