Guide to NATURE
Nature is all around us, the entire physical world, and all the life in it that nature supports. Humans rely on it to supply us with fresh water, the animals and fish that we eat, and the soil that we use to grow crops.
Forests help to produce and clean the air that we breath, they provide the wood for us to build, and homes to 80% of the Earths land animals and plants.
Humans need nature to survive. Yet we continue to destroy it to the point where at least 70% of the Earths land has now been altered. Logging, agricultural use, and livestock grazing are the main culprits.
Other man-made threats include climate change, pollution, plastic, fertilisers and pesticides, monocultures, and forest fires.
The changing of the Earths ecosystems at such a rapid pace has led to widespread habitat and biodiversity loss, disruption of food availability, and altered climate systems – animal and plant species are simply unable to adapt fast enough.
We must protect our natural world in order to ensure the survival of all living things, including mankind.
Used in a sustainable way, the economic value of nature is endless. So too are the health benefits. Spending time in nature has been proven to reduce stress, improve mood, and a host of other wonderful gifts that nature freely provides.
Enjoy our selection of top environmental news including blogs, magazines, and social media for reliable and up to date developments.
Why do we need to Protect our Water and Oceans?
Our planet is 71% water, 96% of which is held in our oceans. These gigantic bodies of water are responsible for providing us with 50% of the oxygen that we need to breathe, and are capable of absorbing 50% more carbon dioxide than our atmosphere.
Oceans and rivers provide protein for 3 billion people, plays a key part in our water cycle, and provides livelihoods for billions.
In our category on oceans and rivers you can discover key issues affecting our water systems today such as ocean acidification, oil spills, the ocean plastics crisis, flooding and rising sea levels, the bleaching and destruction of coral reefs, overfishing, the implications of dams, changing fish migratory patterns, and tsunamis.
Discover the excellent organisations dedicated to ocean and river protection, and what we can do to help preserve them. Learn about awareness days such as World Oceans Day and World Water Day which encourage sustainable management and raise the profile of water conservation.
Learn more about groundwater and drinking water including issues such as desertification, water privatisation, contamination, sanitation, and the right to water.
Finally, delve into our extensive marine life resource which includes information on whales, dolphins, sharks, and seals.
Why are Forests so Important?
Forests cover 31% of our worlds land area. They provide livelihoods and sustenance to approximately 1.6 billion people. Their ability to store carbon is not only essential, but very impressive. Trees in Europe are responsible for absorbing 9% of the continent's greenhouse gas emissions!
Trees also promote cooling. In cities, they can lower temperatures by 8 degrees helping to alleviate higher temperatures, heatwaves, and the need for air conditioning.
Working as filters, they help to clean and recycle our polluted air by removing fine particles and pollutants. They also aid in the forest water cycle and ensure that towns and cities have clean, safe drinking water.
As the home to the majority of our planets land species, and a vital tool in ensuring sustainability, the protection of forests is paramount.
Forests are vulnerable to the same threats as the rest of nature. The changing climate, fire, invasive species, disease, mining, overdevelopment, and land clearing have resulted in a massive loss of forested areas.
Discover extensive information on the forested regions of Canada, the USA, Asia, Russia, Europe, and Africa. In each category find top forestry management organisations, protection policies, and the specific issues found in each region.
Learn about excellent conservation examples, international foundations, and global efforts to protect our planets precious woodlands.
How much of the Earth's Rainforests are Left?
Rainforests are characterised by heavy rain and a dense tree canopy which allows little light to pass through to the undergrowth.
These huge ecosystems play an essential role in stabilising our planets climate, water cycle, atmosphere, and levels of species biodiversity. Responsible for providing 20% of the world's oxygen, these lungs of the world really do keep all livings things alive.
Since industrial times, humans have destroyed roughly 64% of the Earths rainforests. The Brazilian Amazon remains the most at risk. In 2022 alone, an area of 363 square miles was deforested. For comparison, this is equal to an area the size of New York City.
Anti-environmental policies by the now ex-president of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro, have left a catastrophic legacy on the world's largest rainforest.
Better World Info is your window into these incredible tropical forests. Find excellent news sources, and learn about the incredible organisations defending our rainforests, and fighting to implement strict laws and regulations preventing further deforestation.
What is Biodiversity?
Biological diversity refers to the variety of life of Earth, this includes plants, animals, fungi, and even microorganisms. The planets natural biodiversity is what maintains the stability of balance of our fragile ecosystems.
Our planet is so rich that there are still new species still being identified and waiting to be discovered. It is impossible to tell the exact number of plant species, but the figure is estimated to be around 391,000.
Places in Mexico, Africa, and the south-west US have been labelled biodiversity hotspots for their incredibly high levels of biodiversity and endemic species such as lemurs in Madagascar.
Much of our planet's flora and fauna is threatened by human activity. Habitat destruction from industry such as agriculture and logging plays a huge factor. Learn more in our biodiversity loss category.
The UN Biodiversity Summits including the recent COP15 bring together world leaders to discuss the urgent need for biodiversity protection and restoration.
In this biodiversity guide discover excellent news sources, further reading on endangered species, and organisations looking for solutions to increase sustainability and find a way for humans to exist in harmony with nature.
Does Nature Conservation Work?
Nature conservation is the movement driving the protection of our natural world, including the preservation and restoration of habitats, ecosystems, biodiversity, and threatened species.
The need for this protection has become more urgent as the exploitation of our natural world extends beyond sustainable limits. Nature conservation allows for human use, but in a way that does not deplete resources for future generations.
This excellent guide features the top organisations and NGOs fighting for a more sustainable world, excellent news outlets, information on rewilding, reforestation, and various other nature-based solutions to safeguard our environment.
Example of conservation successes have been seen with many endangered species. The previously threatened tiger population in Nepal has almost doubled, and in China, giant pandas have now been officially removed from the critical red list.
International efforts have seen an increasing number of countries recognise the need for greater sustainability, many have now pledged to protect 30% of land and marine spaces by 2030.
Rights of nature are also now legally recognised in many countries. Bolivia, New Zealand, Ecuador, India, and a growing number of US communities all now have laws which ensure the protection of their natural resources.
Land rights are an important part of conservation. It has been proven that when local communities have control over their own land, the people, flora, and fauna all thrive.
If we invest in nature conservation, everybody wins.
Why are Mountains Important?
Anyone who has stood in front of a beautiful mountain landscape, or admired the expansive view from high above can appreciate the impressiveness of these natural land formations. Many however might not be aware of the vital importance that mountains play as a water, food, and energy supply.
In fact, half of the world benefits in some way from the resources that mountains provide. Often referred to as the worlds water towers, 60-80% of our freshwater comes from these mountain ecosystems.
Learn more about mountain environments, the role that they play, and why mountains matter. Discover the excellent organisations raising awareness of the importance of their protection, and watch inspiring documentaries featuring the worlds bravest mountain explorers and their adventures.
Find a special section dedicated to the destructive mountaintop mining industry, the impact that is has on the landscape, contamination of local water supplies, and how easy profits and impunity drive this form of coal mining.
How can we Stop Deforestation?
Deforestation refers to the large scale clearing of forested areas either by the logging industry who make gigantic profits from selling the timber, or by the agricultural industry who wish to use the land for cattle grazing, soy beans, or palm oil plantations.
Since 1990, 20 million acres of forested land have been lost. This equates to 2,400 trees lost every minute. This unprecedented rapid loss of nature has created a biodiversity crisis, the consequences of which are only just being fully understood.
Deforestation is a serious contributor to the effects of the global climate crisis. The clearing of tropical forested areas is responsible for 20% of greenhouse gas emissions into our atmosphere.
100 different species of plants, animals, and birds are being lost every day as a direct consequence of this habitat loss. Sadly, 1,400 species of trees are now on the critically endangered list.
Following current projections, by the year 2030, only 10% of our world's rainforests will remain. With 80% of the damage caused by agriculture, we simply must curb this type of intensive farming and shift to a more sustainable method of food production.
Better World Info is an excellent source of information on reforestation projects, food and agriculture, Big Meat, and sustainable agriculture.
Who are the People Standing up for Nature?
Dive into our top picks of the most important people who have dedicated their lives to protecting our precious planet, natural resources, and all living things.
These people are fighting for the very existence of nature, land rights, species protection, and against the contamination of water and food sources, high level corruption, gangs, crime, and violence that place these brave individuals in real danger.
Search our rewilding pioneers, reforestation heroes, and indigenous leaders on the frontlines. Learn about Berta Cáceres the murdered Honduran land defender who fought against giant dam construction, and Steven Donziger whose legal battles fight against the nature destroying oil industry.
For animal lovers, discover more about David Attenbough and how he has warmed our hearts for generations with his inspiring documentaries on the wonders of the natural world. Find extensive information on the incredible Jane Goodall, and how she brought the world of primates alive, ensured the protection of chimpanzees and their habitats, and continues after decades of hard work to fight for the environment.
Better World Info's Afterthoughts on Nature
At current rates, estimates state that all rainforests will be completely gone in 77 years. The Amazon Rainforest is now actually emitting more carbon dioxide than it absorbs!
Nature provides a quarter of all modern medicine ingredients, and 86 million jobs often to the poorest sectors of society. Trees absorb and lock away dangerous greenhouse gases. Forest ecosystems are home to endless species of animals and plants. We quite literally depend on nature for our survival.
Pushing it to the limit has made rainforests more vulnerable than ever, almost 75% have now lost the ability to recover from the increasing threat of wildfires and drought. Deforestation is bringing more and more diseases into existence.
We must not wait any longer, nature, and everything it encompasses MUST be protected and preserved for future generations. Better World Info is your knowledge platform for all things nature. The sharing of knowledge helps to raise awareness, supports the essential work of environmental organisations, and brings together like minded individuals who want to make this world a better place.
As David Attenborough wisely said, ‘We need to work with nature, not against it.’
Author: Rachael Mellor, 20.12.22
For further reading on nature see below ⬇️