fbpx

Shift from carbon neutral to nature-positive

Nature Positive - green mangrove

“He who stays neutral in the face of adversity sides with the oppressor.– Desmond Tutu

Some people believe that if we replaced fossil fuels with renewables, eliminated plastics, and stopped polluting marine ecosystems, we stand a chance of reversing climate change. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. 

Doing some good does not automatically make up for the negative impact of past actions. Especially if our intention is to restore the planet to what it used to be like.

In recent years, terms like “carbon neutrality” and “net zero” have become popular in climate conversations and public policy-making. Several decision-makers and stakeholders have tried to set climate goals with carbon neutrality as the central benchmark. However, this is an inadequate approach due to the following reasons:

  • The focus on calculating footprints and carbon offsetting stops us from working to go above the bare minimum. While carbon-neutral actions might be helpful, they are just little drops in the ocean from a holistic view. The positive impact is almost negligible because neutrality goals center more on doing less bad instead of being innovative about making the most impact. 
  • Carbon neutrality stems from a narrow-minded perspective of viewing  certain industries or people as responsible for our environmental challenges. Therefore, only the guilty should actively contribute to making the world a better place. But this is not true, we need as many people and corporations to play an active role in the regeneration movement.
  • Finally, Desmond Tutu’s quote above says it best. Neutrality is not the wise stand to make in situations with high stakes. Our planet is currently suffering an unprecedented level of resource depletion and deterioration. Sitting on the fence on the matter is neither noble nor affordable. We all have to pick a side.

nature positive - globe

 

Thinking beyond Carbon Neutrality

The good news is that the neutrality bubble is beginning to burst. People and corporations are gradually becoming more proactive about their plans and actions to save the planet. We can attribute this mindset change to two shifts that happened recently. The first is the shift in attention from sustainability to regeneration. We can now see that the old way of dealing with our problems through blame and faux altruism does not work. Instead, we should adopt a better problem-solving system that involves everyone in the restoration of the planet.

The second shift is the shift in action from “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” to “Reserve, Restore, Rewild”. This shift encourages us to be less reactive and more proactive in the actions we take for the planet. 

The consequence of both of these shifts is a new shift in trend from carbon neutral to nature positive. This simply means that we are changing the kind of goals and benchmarks we aspire to. From “less bad” to ‘more good’

Want to know more about these shifts in action? Check out this episode of Ask the Digital Sustainability Expert! 

Being Nature Positive

What does being nature-positive mean?

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), nature positive means enhancing the resilience of our planet and societies to halt and reverse nature loss. Nature positive is a mindset that seeks to do as much good as it is possible for the planet. This is unlike the net-zero agenda that calculates ‘good’ in terms of how much bad can be canceled out or how depletion can be erased. Our commitment to the planet should not follow accounting principles where good balances with bad.  Equilibriums and break-evens will not regenerate the planet.

To be nature-positive means to think outside the box for more ways to restore the planet. It forces us to be innovative and not complacent. Most importantly, being nature positive does not place limits or constraints on how we can contribute or who can contribute to the planet’s regeneration. Achieving regeneration goals should not be limited to just a few actions like purchasing carbon credits, planting more trees, reducing plastic pollution, or adopting renewable energy sources. 

Instead, having a nature-positive mindset is to have an abundance perspective that sees opportunities for improving the planet everywhere. For example, corporations should look beyond climate altruism to pegging their business goals to a better planet for the future. Individuals can do more than recycle or reuse household items as well, they can be active changemakers at work or in society at large. 

In conclusion, nature positivity is the goal that we should all aspire to. It  inspires, unites, and broadens the scope of actions that we can take to improve the planet. 

To learn more about how you can move towards nature positivity, book an intro call with Handprint today.