Global Managing Director, Lands, The Nature Conservancy
Natural resources lie at the heart of all human development stories -- from the first settlers who began tilling the soil to later civilizations who have relied on resource extraction: whether wood, minerals, coal or oil. Today, nature holds a powerful solution to both our development and environmental challenges. As well as securing water supplies and cleaning our air, natural systems have been stabilizing the climate for millions of years. If we stop degrading that potential -- and even enhance it -- it has potential to do yet more.
Three huge ecosystems offer this opportunity -- forests, wetlands and grasslands. And three strategies will allow us to truly unlock the carbon-storing potential of these systems: improving land management on our already converted lands; avoiding future conversion of critical lands; and restoring landscapes on a global scale.
If we get this right, nature can mitigate at least 20 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.