It’s time to tackle climate change

It’s time to tackle climate change

Understanding nature’s role in helping communities in Wales adapt to extreme weather events.

Climate and nature crisis

It is no secret, we’re in the middle of a climate and nature emergency. 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 change. One problem cannot be solved without the other. But how many of us understand nature’s role in helping communities in Wales adapt to extreme weather events such as flooding?

Grassland which is completely underwater except for the remnants of a bridge

Matthew Roberts

What is needed?

According to a recent Welsh Government survey, 84% of people believe that the way we live our lives need to substantially change to address the climate emergency. Whilst 86% of people admitted they were concerned about climate change, only 15% thought that it would affect their local area ‘a great deal’.

Climate change in Wales

We are already feeling the effects of climate change in Wales, with an increase in flooding and heatwaves both impacting the lives of both the people and wildlife of Wales.

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report highlighted just how urgently action is needed both on a global, and local level. With changes in rainfall, heat extremes, growing intensity of storms and compound events (when drought and flooding happens at the same time) all being attributed to human activity.

Almost half of all participants agreed that climate change could impact their local area ‘to some extent’. This reflects the recent Climate Change Committee report which highlighted the urgent and widespread climate related risks Wales now faces.

A smiling toddler holds up a flower to her grandfather

Ben Hall/2020VISION

Impact on health and wellbeing

The majority of those surveyed believed that a net-zero emissions future would be better for their wellbeing (77%) and health (80%).

Find out what nature can do for you

Why now?

The IPCC report highlighted that all parts of the globe are now being affected by climate change. We are already experiencing this in Wales with flooding, coastal erosion, and heatwaves. We need urgent action in order to limit the warming of the earth to 1.5°C or less. The window of opportunity is closing, but it isn’t slammed shut yet. With bold action, we will be able to keep warming to 1.5°C.

Nature can help

Nature has a huge part to play in combating climate change. It can help by holding back floodwaters in Welsh hills and by allowing flood plains to play their role. Nature can act as a massive sponge soaking up rainfall and then slowly releasing it, which will then provide water in the summer when we need it.

Urban trees and green roofs could offer shade and cool buildings in heatwaves. We need to bring nature back into our lives, and what a better way than enabling nature to protect us from extreme weather events. But we need to invest now to adapt to the uncertain future we are all facing. By greening our neighborhoods and managing land in a new way we can work together to protect our communities.

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Two women stood smiling to camera in front of a reed bed with a giant willow weaved man in the background

Rachel, Director of Wildlife Trusts Wales meeting Climate Change Minister, Julie James

In Wales we look out for each other, so I have no doubt in our ability to unite in big and bold actions to fight the climate emergency. Reaching net zero by 2050 will require decisive action over the next ten years, meaning government, businesses and communities coming together to change the way we eat, shop, travel and heat our homes.
Julie James, Minister for Climate Change

Nature-based solutions to climate change

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© Ben Hall/2020VISION

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The Stand for Nature Wales team whilst on a team visit to Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve. Photo by Silvia Cojocaru