Imagining a nature-positive future for Europe in 2120

Tim van Hattum, Wageningen University & Research

Image author: Wageningen University & Research

In this decade of climate and biodiversity action there is a strong and compelling need to design and visualise an appealing and hopeful perspective for a climate resilient and nature-positive future. There is common agreement that climate change and biodiversity loss are the world’s greatest challenges for the 21st century. The sense of urgency surrounding climate
change and biodiversity loss permeates daily news and media. However, the continuous barrage of alarming messages can also paralyze individuals. Global studies reveal that climate anxiety is a growing and significant concern, particularly among young people who fear a doomed future. It is however not too late to take action for global climate and biodiversity, but the urgency of the matter requires unprecedented transformative change in order to secure a liveable future for humanity. Both IPCC and IPBES, call for joint action for climate and biodiversity. While the rapid reduction of carbon emissions through the gradual elimination of fossil fuels and a transition towards a decarbonised society remains essential, the large scale implementation of Nature Based Solutions (NBS) is now recognised as a crucial evidence-based approach for achieving a liveable future. Despite the clear benefits they offer, large-scale implementation of NBS is still lacking. We need to start working with nature, rather than against it.

To give momentum to the delivery of a nature-based transformation in Europe, we need to provide an overarching nature-based narrative at a European scale. Europe is warming two times faster than any other continent in the world and currently witnessing intensifying climate impacts across the continent. The European Commission is aiming not only to establish Europe as the world’s first climate resilient and carbon-neutral continent but also to position itself as a global leader in promoting and implementing nature-based solutions.
Achieving sustainability and resilience in the context of climate change requires a narrative of optimism and proactive engagement. To realise this, transformative and multi-scale visions are essential in order to stimulate coherent thinking and for taking positive steps toward radically different trajectories. In order to create a liveable future for the coming generations, there is a need to adopt a far-reaching and integrated strategy that extends beyond 2050 and connects to society, also in the short term. Developing an inclusive, long term narrative for a nature-based future for Europe holds the power to foster awareness and accelerate short term actions, making the future as a whole imaginable, viable and desirable.

Imagining a nature-based future for Europe holds the potential to raise awareness and foster public participation, speeding-up proactive climate and biodiversity action. An international community of students and researchers at Wageningen University & Research (WUR) co-designed a vison for a nature-positive future for Europe in 2120. It doesn’t represent a definitive outcome, but acts as a catalyst for rethinking an entirely different and optimistic future, shaping our collective role in its realisation. Rather than providing or predicting the future, it’s about collaboratively shaping sustainable futures. This perspective aims to spark inspiration and foster further discourse about our desired future and the collective journey towards it.

This story was also published on:

Share the Post:

Related Posts

Weemoed en hoop

Een tijdje geleden werd ik door een student geïnterviewd over natuurbeleving en hoe belangrijk biodiversiteit voor mij persoonlijk is. Tijdens

Read More