Climate and nature emergency

Combatting the climate and nature crisis

A global emergency

We are in the middle of a climate and nature emergency, and the two are inextricably linked. Climate change is driving nature’s decline, and the loss of wildlife and wild places leaves us ill-equipped to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to climate change.

One cannot be solved without the other.

We know from experience that restoring nature can help soak up carbon emissions - known as natural solutions to climate change - but that isn't all. When healthy, our natural habitats can also help us cope with the effects of climate change: reducing the risk of flooding, preventing coastal erosion, improving people’s health and wellbeing, and maintaining healthy soils, clean water and the pollinators needed for our crops.

Nature itself is at risk from climate change, but if helped to recover, its potential to store carbon means it can help us turn the tide on the climate catastrophe.

Natural climate solutions

Green carbon solutions

Peatlands

Help to reduce flooding, reduce fire risk, improve water quality and store twice as much carbon as all the world's forests.

Peter Cairns/2020VISION

Green carbon solutions

Woodlands

It isn't only trees that store carbon - woodland soils store nearly three times as much as the trees! Woodlands can also limit flooding, with wet woodlands slowing the flow of water downstream after extreme rain.

Green carbon solutions

Grasslands

Healthy 'unimproved' grasslands that haven't been ploughed, fertilised or sprayed with chemicals have more absorbent soils, produce grasses with more amino acids and attract a huge range of wildlife.

Jon Hawkins - Surrey Hills Photography

Green carbon solutions

Wetlands

Where water and dry land meet in marshes, wet grassland, floodplains and fens, threatened insects, birds and mammals thrive. Healthy wetlands also store carbon, clean the water and reduce flood risk downstream.

Blue carbon solutions

Seagrass

Seagrass meadows hold 10 per cent of the ocean’s total burial of carbon, despite covering less than 0.2 per cent of the ocean floor!

Seagrass bed © Paul Naylor

Blue carbon solutions

Ocean sediments

Ocean sediments provide a home and feeding grounds for marine life, and store huge amounts of carbon. Globally, 10 billion tonnes of carbon are transferred to seabed sediments when phytoplankton die or are eaten then excreted every year!

Sea pens and a fireworks anemone by Paul Naylor

Blue carbon solutions

Saltmarshes

Saltmarshes lock up carbon dioxide in the marshland plants that get buried in the mud when they die. They also act as buffers against erosion, as natural flood defences and important breeding and feeding grounds for coastal birds.

Morecambe Bay saltmarsh by Peter Cairns/2020VISION

What are we doing to help? 

We've been working on the ground to restore nature since 1962. We protect and restore important habitats that lock carbon safely away and limit the effects of climate change, including peatlands, saltmarshes, wetlands and ancient woodland.

Cottongrass - Little Woolden Moss

Little Woolden Moss is a rare fragment on lowland raised peat bog in Greater Manchester - Tim Prevett

Peatland restoration

We're re-wetting and replanting peatlands in Lancashire and Greater Manchester to turn them back into healthy carbon stores and homes for special wildlife. We're also pioneering wetter farming techniques to show landowners that they can help to combat climate change whilst still making a living.

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North Beach - Fylde Sand Dunes Drone Shot ©Jack Bradshaw

Fylde Sand Dunes Project

Though not a traditional blue carbon store, Fylde's sand dunes store carbon as they age, through the plants and scrub that grow there. By extending the sand dunes towards the sea, we're also creating a vital soft sea defence for the people of Fylde, which will protect homes from the increased storms and flooding we're already seeing as a result of climate breakdown. Did we mention the dunes also provides homes for pyramidal orchids, grayling butterflies and rare sand lizards?

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Volunteers in the Carbon Landscape

The Carbon Landscape

Our Carbon Landscape team is bringing unloved wetlands in Greater Manchester back to life; creating new habitat for rare bitterns and willow tits, and inspiring communities to care for their local green spaces through events and workshops.

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A common frog that looks like it's smiling, resting in a pond

Common frog by Mark Hamblin/2020VISION

My Wild City

Our My Wild City team is leading on developing a Nature Recovery Network map and new 10-year Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for Manchester. We're also encouraging people to improve their local green spaces - making the city more climate resilient and wildlife-rich, and bringing wildlife into the lives of urban communities who would otherwise struggle to connect with nature.

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Ponds and pools at Lunt Meadows nature reserve surrounded by lush vegetation

Lunt Meadows

In just 10 years we've transformed Lunt Meadows from agricultural land to a thriving wetland wonderland home to breeding marsh harriers and bitterns; dragonflies, water voles and wading birds; and wintering short-eared owls. The reserve protects local residents from one of the worst effects of climate change - flooding - and its unique history teaches people about how man has weathered climate change since Mesolithic times.

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Help us take climate action where you live

Together we can tackle the climate and nature crisis
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What you can do to help

The climate and nature crisis is incredibly overwhelming, and it's easy to feel at a loss about what to do. Thankfully, action can begin at home, and every small change we make adds up to one huge difference for the planet.