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Social Democrats Spokesperson for Climate Change and Biodiversity, Jennifer Whitmore TD., believes that the time has come to use nature-based solutions (NbS) to deal with many of the environmental problems facing us, including many of the challenges of the climate emergency.

“This World Environment Day, Friday 5th June, let’s appreciate the power and the value of nature and recognise the potential of nature-based solutions (NbS)  to solve many of the problems facing us” Whitmore said.

“Put simply, NbS are about using nature itself to solve our environmental problems in a sustainable and cost-effective way. For years, we have tried to engineer ourselves out of environmental problems, such as flooding and erosion. Reaching immediately for the steel and concrete as primary solutions just doesn’t work long-term.  It’s time that we allow nature do what it does best.

“We’ve forgotten how to trust nature, or to truly understand how it operates. Many of our older generations and our rural communities have had a much better relationship with the natural world. It’s time that we try to regain that knowledge and use it for the benefit of future generations.

“Our first instinct when it comes to riverine flooding, for example, is to build flood relief schemes that try to control water and nature. Hard engineering however is expensive, non-sustainable and often doesn’t work on a long-term basis. We need now to start looking at how we can address these problems in a more natural way through using upstream environments and wetland systems, rather than going a construction route.

“When it comes to carbon capture, we are all aware of the benefits of planting trees. But, there’s many other nature-based actions we could take that would help also. For example, rewetting our bogs or building up our ‘blue carbon’ by protecting and restoring our marine environments such as seagrass beds. These solutions all need to play a large part in our climate adaptation and mitigation strategies.

“And the best thing is that using NbS also provide much great biodiversity benefits, enabling ecosystems to return to a more natural and wild state. So, they really are a win-win solution when applied properly, and in the context of a just transition.

5th June 2020

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