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Numbers that Matter in the Immediate Future of Every Naturalist

With climate change and growing stress on natural resources, it’s time that we look at key numbers related to nature in a different light.

Photo by Antonio Garcia on Unsplash

There is no denying the fact that we are going through a transition in every field imaginable during this time. Be it the way we lived pre-pandemic compared to the way we’re living right now. Or, be it the way growth across the world has halted. Or, be it the way we’ve all come to realize the importance of nature around us compared to the way we thought of just one year ago.

These are changes that look dramatic because there is a marker in front of us that represents the separation. Had there been no such dramatic onset of changes, we’d all have thought of it as a reality of change. And, this is particularly true when we look at some of the numbers we have seen this year with respect to nature.

For clarity, it isn’t just the numbers that showcase the intensity of heat that we’ve seen. Or, the alarming number of ice that we’ve seen disappear. Or, the jaw-dropping number of forest fires that have ravaged across the world. We need to have a deeper look at numbers that are not directly correlated to nature. Like for instance, the number of countries that are working towards a carbon-neutral future. Or the number of leaders of countries who are really looking at climate change as a threat.

In many ways, the year we’ve witnessed sets itself so far apart from the preceding years that it begs for us to stop in the wake and take a note. It literally has begged for us to rethink the way we envision everything we’ve been doing thus far. The way we lived. The way global economies were built. The way we’ve neglected sustainability. And, the way we’ve all understood our place in the complex ecosystem called ‘The Earth’.

And, because of all these reasons, it is imperative that we take a step back and contemplate our next steps as we head into the final month of the year. It is required and absolutely necessary that we set our expectations correct and that we ensure our future, starting next year, look, at the very least a little less daunting than the year we’re in.

The best way to understand the problem is to have a look at some numbers that tell the story in a different light than the usual numbers we’ve all come to use normally.

Number Of Countries With A Climate Action Plan

It is now a well-known fact that one of the biggest problems we’re facing is ‘Climate Change’. We all know that all of the adverse effects we’re facing when it comes to nature is directly correlated with one number — average temperature change.

Limiting the temperature change to 1.5°C compared to 2°C (projected) by 2100 is something every government being a part of the Paris Climate Action Agreement agreed to. But, having a look at the number of countries that have a strong plan towards climate action is something that still hangs in a balance.

By design, almost every country has a climate action plan, but having a climate action plan which is in line with the requirement to reduce climate change to 1.5°C is something that is largely missing. This is the number that is alarming, to say the least.

According to the latest UN Climate Change report card, there are only 2 countries (Gambia and Morocco) that have a climate action plan that is in-line with the required CO2 emissions to a level consistent with the required limits.

Potentially the US is another country with a strategic plan now with the election of Joe Biden to the presidency. Having a plan that resonates with the requirement is something that is an absolute necessity. And, every government needs to join hands if we want to have a shot at achieving that number by 2100.

The Lack Of Global Opportunities Around Nature

The one other number that we need to have a close eye on is the growth of global opportunities, both professionally and otherwise, that are available for people who are in any field related to nature. With a year that has seen disruption in every field and industry imaginable, the community of naturalists has also seen similar disruption and lack of opportunities for growth.

Our cumulative future depends on people who have dedicated their lives to nature and related fields. Be it natural sciences or wildlife conservation or nature activism, we need to be at a place where every naturalist we have can look at their individual futures positively.

But right now the fact of the matter is that their futures, as arguably is in many other fields due to the pandemic and the global slowdown that we are in, is troublesome. Talking to the naturalists we are associated with has got us to a realization that their futures are as uncertain as ever. And the worst part is that there isn’t a reliable number that can sum up the overall outlook globally. Any statistical number that we can find is at best a partial picture and at worst unreliable.

Imagine a place where we no longer are able to attract more naturalists to the fields we require them to be in.

How would our future look like then? How can the many advancements in policies and efforts that we’ve seen sustain? How then will the next generation of people find the motivation that they require to pursue their life in these said fields?

The Lack Of Investments Around Nature

One other requirement that we need to look at for our future is the many investments that are happening in the fields and ventures that include nature as a central entity. We’ve all seen a reduction in investments across industries.

The reality is that we inadvertently need more investments coming in for fields that are related to nature. We need more money to bring in technologies that are inclusive of the future we require to reach the said climate action numbers. We need more technologies that tackle problems that are directly affecting climate change negatively.

According to the latest PwC The State of Climate Tech 2020 report, we have a steady increase in climate tech investments, but that isn’t nearly as enough as we need.

“Investors across the early-stage life cycle of climate tech companies need to work harder to recognize the time-critical and strategic opportunity climate tech offers and to free up more capital to address the large financing and funding gap” — PwC The State of Climate Tech 2020

Even though the investments in climate tech started very recently, we’ve seen a massive 84% compound annual growth rate.

But compare that with the VC funding of merely $60 B between the years 2013–2019.

We clearly need more, which frankly we can expect. But, there is a timeline associated with the effects we are looking forward to.

The reality is that we are at a better place when it comes to our understanding and collective will to move forward with nature. And in this light, we can be hopeful that we will reach our requirements.

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