“NATURE DOESN’T NEED PEOPLE, PEOPLE NEED NATURE.”
We depend entirely on a healthy natural environment for our wealth and wellbeing. It is fundamental to our economy and social structures, our homes and neighbourhoods, our ability to create and construct things, and to our health and happiness. Human beings are part of the natural world; we are one species amongst millions and have evolved to be part of nature, not apart from it.
While millions of people regularly watch TV programs about nature and wildlife, the membership of nature conservation organizations is growing but really needs more support to help wildlife for the future. Legislation intended to protect nature is becoming more abundant and a growing area of land (and more recently, sea) is being designated as having special protection. However wildlife and wild places have been declining in quantity and quality for decades and continue to do so. The high value that people often attach to nature on a personal, individual level, is rarely translated into public policy or the investment and spending decisions of government, organizations and private companies.
Nature matters simply because it does, but also because it brings people huge emotional value, it delivers a wide range of valuable goods and services that are of practical benefit to society, and much of the emotional and practical value that it generates has financial value which contributes to the economic performance of the industrialised countries. It is central to addressing many of the industralised most pressing social and economic problems (such as declining mental health, increasing non-communicable diseases, declining social cohesion, increasing inequality, increasing flood risk, increasing urbanisation) and to maintaining the productivity and quality of life of a growing and aging population).