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30 by 30

By Cathy Robinson - 02 February 2023

We started the year with a new global commitment to set aside 30% of the planet for nature by the end of this decade.

COP15, the 15th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, took place in Montreal In December 2022.

Separate from the widely publicised COP27, held in Egypt, which concentrated on the climate crisis, COP15 was less well reported in the media but equally important.

The aim of COP15 was to define and shape the future of the world’s biodiversity. Many people saw the event as a last-chance opportunity to put nature back on the road to recovery.

The conference was tasked with setting measurable targets to put nature first all around the world. It’s been likened to a peace pact with nature.

This pact is clear in its intention: to set aside 30% of the planet for nature by the end of this decade, maintain genetic biodiversity, and work across national borders to prevent the extinction of species.

Scientists agree there’s no time to waste to start restoring biodiversity. Our current relationship with nature is not sustainable for the planet - we can’t keep on taking out more than we put back in.

Setting aside 30% of land for nature may sound like a lot, especially given the increasing need for housing in the UK. However, less than 10% of Britain is built on. All our housing, roads, and industrial buildings are captured in this small percentage of land. The vast majority is used for food production.

Our biggest challenge is to re-examine our relationship with food. By reducing our staggering food waste (we waste a third of our food), rewilding unproductive land, and restoring the wild edges and water sources of our agricultural land, we can turn back the clock.

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