How Protecting Our Natural Landscape Can Help Tackle Climate Change.




Climate change is a real and ever-growing threat to the world as we know it. Seeing it in the news sometimes makes it seem like all hope is lost, but it isn't. We still have time to take action and see change. One way to do this is to protect our natural landscape, from national parks to village greens.


What does 'natural landscape' include?


When people say 'natural landscape' it is a common assumption that they simply mean areas of rolling untouched nature, and they are likely to be right. Natural landscapes, provide respite from urban life, habitat for wildlife, and ecosystems for a plethora of plant species. these are the kinds of areas that make you feel the majesty of mother nature, and are crucial for not only people's wellbeing but also the sustainability of Earth - more now than ever, considering the current climate crisis. However, protected areas such as national parks or AONBs have some form of conservation going on, and face much less threat than other locations that do not have their safety promised on paper, even if these areas do still face substantial damage.


'Natural landscape' is also a term that can also cover green spaces. According to the UK-based charity Fields In Trust, there are 2,891 legally protected green spaces in England alone. These spaces are areas such as grassy parks and tree-lined areas that take us away from the fast-paced movement of busy areas. Green spaces are home to local wildlife and provide an ecosystem for plants and animals to thrive despite the rate at which habitats are destroyed to make way for urban development. From bugs to foxes, daisies to honeysuckle, these areas provide a small getaway from hustle and bustle. The trees and flora of these areas also provide benefits to the area around them, including soaking up around 1.7 kilos of airborne pollutants each year.


What is being done?


There are many organisations and charities that are aiming to protect the natural world, in many different forms and in many different circumstances. While I recommend that you look into efforts local to you, and in areas dear to your heart, here is a list of some efforts being made to protect the landscape:


  • The WWF is one of the biggest voices in protecting against environmental destruction, from campaigning against deforestation to ocean pollution. They also present factual information in such a way that educates on a wide array of issues that significantly impact the environment.

  • Areas can be designated as protected, for example, the UK has national parks and AONBs, which are protected by their local authorities under legal obligation. These are locations such as the Lake District and the South Downs, where the natural beauty of the area is recognised and now legally conserved and cared for.

  • The United Nations have set 17 Sustainable Development Goals, with the intention of taking climate action and seeing an improvement by 2023. Goal 13 is Climate Action, an effort to combat climate change on a global scale, with goals to tackle natural disasters and install frameworks that will serve to protect from the damages of climate change and reduce the effects.

  • Conservation charities, such as the Woodland Trust, Wildlife Trust, and Flora & Fauna International, all work to maintain, educate, and improve upon the state of the natural world, covering both environment and wildlife to sustain ecosystems and protect natural landscapes.


How to safely enjoy nature.


Nature is a genuinely astonishing thing to behold, and sitting in an area where the beauty isn't manmade, the atmosphere has an unreplicable serenity. These places need to be treated with the utmost respect and caution. Here are some pointers on mixing enjoyment and respect easily:

  • Check the weather before making plans. It sounds silly, but weather affects everything from visibility in areas high above sea level, to walking traction. Knowing if it will rain enough to cause a flood, or if the sun is hot enough to give you heatstroke is important.

  • Don't litter. If you fly-tip or just leave an empty wrapper on the grass you are risking serious harm to the environment. Non-compostable materials damage ecosystems, litter kills the environment, and risks sustainability.

  • If you go camping, remember to stay safe, educated, clean, and out of the way. This means no trace you were there, and being aware of your location. If you do this, also check the legality of your choices, as camping randomly can risk accidentally damaging the landscape you pitch in.

  • Leave plants and animals alone. Nature can be fragile and in order for it to thrive properly it doesn't need interference, only care. Try to leave things be, unless it is urgent that you don't.

  • Donate to charities that help causes you care about. The climate crisis is a threat that can very easily wipe out natural landscapes very quickly, and is doing irreparable damage to nature already. Charities that are fighting to protect nature are working hard and need all the help they can get.

  • Have fun, soak it all in. Be it a park on the outskirts of your city, a rocky mountain range, or a rugged coastline. If you connect with it, and feel how important nature is to life on Earth, you may learn to care much more deeply than you thought you could.

I encourage you to go out there and enjoy it, make memories that will last a lifetime.