The many gifts of nature

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Trees in winter

Natural ecosystems are the foundations of our society and contribute to human health and prosperity. We must invest in their preservation and restoration. [1] 


Precipitation (rain or snow) is the source of water that supports ecosystems. Ecosystems, in turn, control the quantity and quality of freshwater needed for human well-being. An estimated 75 percent of the world’s accessible fresh water comes from forested watersheds. [2]  National forests is the source of water for more than half of the people of the United States. [3]

Clean Air

Tree take pollution out of the air— reducing fine particles in their immediate surroundings by as much as a quarter. It is estimated that in polluted cities trees are currently reducing exposures to fine particles by an average 10 μg/m³ or more reduction. There is still a reduction in cities with clearer air. [4]

Flood ProtectionMangrove

Forests and protected areas provide a defence against floods and storm surges. Healthy coastlines, mangroves and wetlands are critical for protection from flooding and other extreme weather events.[5] In 2018, “natural” disasters in 2018 impacted 50 million people and cost $56.8 billion in the Asia-Pacific region. Some of this damage could have been avoided had healthy coastal ecosystems been maintained. [6]

CoolingStream under the shade

Trees and vegetation lower surface and air temperatures by providing shade and through evapotranspiration. Greenspaces can help reduce peak summer temperatures in cities by 1–5°C. [7] "Trees can make a huge difference to a city's temperature," says Tobi Morakinyo, an urban climatologist. [8] 


Rice fields

Agriculture occupies about 40% of global land and uses 70% of freshwater. [9] A study in Asia and Africa found that on average Indigenous communities use 120 different wild foods. [10]


Fruit stand

Overall Canadians eat more meat and fewer vegetables and fruits than is recommended for health. Increasing intake of plant-based foods would be beneficial for the health of many people in Canada and for the planet. [11]


Freshly caught fish

The full potential of fisheries can be realized only if essential habitats – estuaries, wetlands, mangrove forests and coral reefs – are protected. Marine Protected Areas could increase food provision by almost 11 million tonnes over business-as-usual projections. [12] 


Market stall with traditional medicines

According to some estimates, we are already losing one potential major drug every two years. As many as half of prescription drugs are based on substance found in nature. 70% of cancer drugs are natural or synthetic products inspired by nature. [13]


Tall tree

The global production and trade of major wood products such as industrial roundwood, sawn wood and wood-based panels have surged to their highest level since 1947.  Wood fuel removals accounted for half (49 percent) of all roundwood produced in 2018. [14] 


Woven cotton fabric

Natural fibres include wool, flax, hemp, jute, and sisal. Wood cellulose is used for the production of Rayon and Lyocell. Since 1961, global cotton production has doubled and silk production has tripled. [15] 



By 2060, the transition to a green economy is expected to double the need for minerals to build wind turbines, solar panels and other technologies. [16]


sunset at beach

Green space is associated with better mental health.[17] Experiencing nature is associated with psychological well-being, increased positive outlook in life, happiness, and sense of well-being.[18] Mounting evidence shows that people who live in places with more trees experience lower levels of stress and mental illness. [19] 


Trees after a snow fall

There are qualities of nature that we can't put monetary value on "biodiversity, aesthetics and our visceral, gut-need to experience nature." [20] 



Nature experience has been shown to positively influence imagination and creativity. [21]
[1] Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
[2] State of the World’s Forests 2020 
[3] State of the World’s Forests 2018
[4] Planting Healthy Air
[5] Nature Risk Rising; Campaign for Nature
[6] The Future of Nature and Business   [7] US Environmental Protection Agency
[9] EAT Lancet Commission
[10] State of the World’s Forests 2020
[11] Diets for a Cool Planet
[12] The Future of Nature and Business
[13] Nature Risk Rising (New Nature Economy Report)
[14] Food and Agriculture Organization
[15] Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
[17] Green City: Why nature matters to health
[18] Bratman et al., 2019
[21] Bratman et al., 2019
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