Nature Now

The investment of our lifetime

The gradient of colors in the fall in Northern California. Evergreens and deciduous plants create a beautiful gradient of color as the seasons change.
Falltime Gradients The gradient of colors in the fall in Northern California. Evergreens and deciduous plants create a beautiful gradient of color as the seasons change. © © Sevag Mehterian/TNC Photo Contest 2018

Biodiversity—the variety of all life on Earth—supports the health and wealth of our societies. But natural systems are under threat. The COVID-19 pandemic is our latest and perhaps most stark warning that humanity isn’t exempt from the repercussions of nature loss. To truly realize a future that’s durable for people and the planet, we need a swift transition to a nature-positive, carbon neutral world. Pivotal UN conferences in 2021 offer hope, with opportunities to raise collective ambition and bold action for nature, food and climate.

We all need nature, but we are exploiting it far more rapidly than it can renew itself—and that loss comes at a price.

The food we eat, the air we breathe, our health, our climate—essentially, everything that makes Earth inhabitable—all depends on the interplay of millions of organisms in diverse ecosystems, which have learned to thrive and interact over billions of years. Biodiversity underpins planetary health and informs everything down to the taste of a grain, the strand of a cloth and a sip of water, supporting our most basic needs. Nature loss is also accelerating the climate crisis. Yet, beyond areas well-stewarded by indigenous communities, nature and wildlife are declining around the world at an unprecedented rate. To reverse this trend, we must find better ways to manage humanity's footprint on land and sea—and new ways to fund this work.


Governments and businesses now have an opportunity to take a critical, collective step to arrest this decline: to agree to protect at least 30 percent of the world on land and sea.

If adopted, this new framework will act as the world’s roadmap for wildlife and habitat conservation, as well as updating countries’ goals for conservation and sustainable use of living resources. The new framework should also better align with the global Sustainable Development Goals, driving home the critical role of nature in human health and well-being.


It will require up to $900 billion a year to reverse the global biodiversity crisis—but we’re not spending nearly that much currently.

In fact, we need an additional $700 billion a year to protect nature, according to a new report from the Paulson Institute, TNC and the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability. The number sounds daunting, but the report also lays out a number of actions policymakers and businesses can take to start closing the nature funding gap.


To be truly transformational, the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework must involve finance, planning, transportation, energy, and agriculture officials.

Biodiversity advocates must learn an important lesson from climate activists. Global climate action gained momentum only after it became clear that the issue was about more than the environment, and would require a transformation of transport, energy, agriculture, infrastructure, and many industries. The rapid loss of biodiversity that we are witnessing is about much more than nature. The collapse of ecosystems will threaten the wellbeing and livelihoods of everyone on the planet. The CBD (the UN Convention on Biological Diversity) must move beyond traditional notions of “conservation” to engage with all relevant sectors of the economy and civil society. Saving nature is not a task for government alone; it must be a whole-of-society effort.


Very little of the planet is truly "untouched." If we are to preserve the diversity of all habitats on Earth, we have to protect and manage lightly or moderately changed areas, as well as pristine landscapes.

New maps help visualize the current state of land on earth and land that is threatened with future development pressures from energy, mining and infrastructure projects around the world. These visuals show that to truly save nature, the moderately modified places—where humans have left a mark but some wild land still exists—are just as critical to conserve as the last remaining pristine areas. Can we balance this growth and meet human needs while still conserving the nature on which all life depends?


We urgently need to reset and reverse the path we're on—but doing so will require broad collaboration and investment. The UN biodiversity summit offers a chance to reset our relationship with nature.

Representatives from the world’s governments will convene for the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Kunming, China next year. It’s a pivotal moment for the countries that are party to the CBD to refresh and redouble their shared commitments to nature. These commitments must involve people who have the political and economic clout to drive transformational changes that interweave nature preservation throughout political and economic systems. Here are The Nature Conservancy’s top 10 recommendations to the CBD to create a new deal for nature.


When nature thrives, people thrive. But even when we acknowledge this truth on a planetary scale, it’s easy to lose sight of what that means to individual communities and individual people.

Even in the face of great challenges, people and nature find ways to thrive together. These nine stories of communities around the world—from Canada to Colombia and beyond—show how local leadership can have a global impact.

What You Can Do

People around the world are adding their voice to call for urgent action. Sign the Voice for the Planet pledge and explore these other resources for more ways to engage with the Nature Now campaign.

Resources for Download

  • Feedback on the Updated Zero Draft of the Post-2020 GBF, January 2021

    Joint Feedback on Updated Draft of Post-2020 GBF


    The post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework must be a comprehensive plan and spur all sectors of society and governments into ambitious, urgent, and transformative action.

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    NGO Coalition Statement: Public Development Banks

    TNC has joined efforts with other leading conservation organizations to identify three key opportunities for Public Development Banks to drive systemic change that addresses the biodiversity challenge. More information

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    COVID-19 Response and Recovery


    A joint NGO policy paper outlining recommendations for COVID-19 Response and Recovery through nature-based solutions

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    Economic Recovery Guiding Principles


    The Nature Conservancy's guidance on an economic recovery to advance the health and well-being of people and the planet.

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    Nature-Positive Recovery


    A nature-positive recovery for people, economy and climate includes principles for investing in nature-based jobs and initiatives to stimulate the post-COVID economy. Visit Nature4Climate's site

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    Businesses Call for Policy Action


    TNC supports the Business for Nature coalition in accelerating policies to curb biodiversity loss. Download to read their statement. Visit Business for Nature

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    TNC's Position on Global Biodiversity Framework


    See The Nature Conservancy's response to the Zero Draft of Global Biodiversity Framework.

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    Infographics: Human Nature—Visualized


    Download three infographics showing the current extent of land change on Earth, what future changes might look like, and what is driving these changes. More information

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    NGO Joint Statement on Biodiversity


    Pillars of a Deal for Nature and People in 2020


In The News

  • a young zebra stares at camera

    Sustaining Conservation in a Pandemic

    The pandemic has slowed visits to national parks and wildlife reserves. In order to protect ecosystems that sustain livelihoods and attract visitors, conservation groups must find alternate sources of funding. Read More

  • Yellow fish swim through a coral reef in shallow water

    Five takeaways from the EU’s new biodiversity strategy

    The European Union unveiled a blueprint to address the biodiversity crisis. Here are five key takeaways, including fewer chemicals in farming, restoration of ecosystems, more protected areas and 3 billion new trees. Read More

  • Colorful parrots flying away from a body of water

    COVID-19 disrupts a major year for biodiversity policy and planning

    Experts worry the world will lose critical time to turn around alarming trends in biodiversity loss and climate change, and that the resources allocated to fight COVID-19 might mean fewer resources for biodiversity initiatives later on. Read More

  • A Yunnan golden monkey sits amidst the trees

    Extinction: Meet the new poster animals of conservation

    A new study compiles a list of hundreds of mammals, birds and reptiles that could act as new flagship species. They are charismatic in their own right, but often overlooked in favor of more iconic alternatives. Read More

  • A sharp divide shows rich forest and deforested area.

    A Transformative Deal for Nature

    Delegates from around the world will gather to complete a new global agreement for protecting and conserving the world's natural systems. To succeed, they must bring together officials with the clout to effect change across entire economies. Read More

Global Insights

Check out our latest thinking and real-world solutions to some of the most complex challenges facing people and the planet today.