Skip to main content
Menu

Climate change   |   Environment & ethics

Restore ecosystems to tackle climate change

Forest
Forests store large amounts of carbon dioxide. Image Oleksandr Pidvalnyi. 

Restoring and protecting ecosystems that can naturally draw carbon dioxide out of the air is a “thrilling but neglected” approach to averting climate chaos.

That’s the message from a new campaign backed by some of the world’s leading environment activists, including Swedish schoolgirl and climate activist Greta Thunberg, journalist George Monbiot and the heads of Greenpeace UK and Friends of the Earth, in an open letter published in the Guardian yesterday.

Other signatories included the authors Margaret Attwood and Philip Pullman, musician Brian Eno, chef and food campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.

“The world faces two existential crises, developing with terrifying speed: climate breakdown and ecological breakdown. Neither is being addressed with the urgency needed to prevent our life-support systems from spiralling into collapse,” the letter stated.

“We are writing to champion a thrilling but neglected approach to averting climate chaos while defending the living world: natural climate solutions. This means drawing carbon dioxide out of the air by protecting and restoring ecosystems.”

Restoring ecosystems such as forests, peatlands, salt marshes and other crucial ecosystems could help remove and store “large amounts of carbon”.

Protecting these ecosystems would also help minimise a sixth mass extinction of the world’s wildlife and biodiversity, and help protect communities’ resilience against climate breakdown, the letter said. 

The campaigners called for governments to support “natural climate solutions” with research, funding and political commitment, but warned that the approach should not substitute the rapid decarbonisation of industrial economies.

“A committed and well-funded programme to address all the causes of climate chaos, including natural climate solutions, could help us hold the heating of the planet below 1.5C,” the letter said.

    Comments

    Wicked Leeks issue 7 is out now

    With a focus on regenerative farming, a cover interview with ethical restaurateur Asma Khan and we answer your questions on price, plastic and organic farming. Plus the joy of seasonal summer eating.

    Read more

    Ethical organic veg boxes

    Riverford Organic Farmers, leading the Veg Revolution since 1986.

    Shop Riverford

    Guy's news...

    Founder of Riverford Guy Singh-Watson writes a weekly column with news from the farm and more...

    Read more
     

    Join the Wicked Leeks community

    Sign up for the newsletter and receive the five latest stories, once a week. Wicked Leeks magazine is published by organic veg box company Riverford.

    Spread the word

    The twin crises of climate change and biodiversity losses will be the defining stories of our future, but it is not too late to change direction. 

    Here at Wicked Leeks, our mission is to help inform and inspire positive change. Our journalism is free to all because of this, but we want to reach as many people as possible who share our desire for a better world. We know our readers are some of the biggest advocates of sustainable living, and you can help us grow this movement by sharing this article widely, with your friends and on social media. Now is the time to act.