Reversing the long term decline of the natural environment is a complex challenge. We are generating new thinking and building powerful new alliances to support political leadership that will restore Britain’s natural environment for the future.
New markets for land and natureIn partnership with the National Trust
Agriculture is under increasing pressure to maximise production, whilst reducing its environmental impact and eliminating dependence on public subsidy. Many farming businesses are operating at the limit of their profitability, often to the detriment of soil health, water quality and biodiversity. Farmers are in a unique position to restore and protect the natural environment, but there is no commercial basis for the provision of natural services from farmland.
Flooding is a big problem in the UK and one that is getting worse with climate change. In November 2016, we revealed that England's current approach to flood risk is contradictory:
• nearly four times as much money spent on land management that ignores or even increases flood risk, than on land management that helps to prevent flooding; and • twice as much money spent on dealing with the after effects of a flood than on hard flood defences
This funding is skewed towards short-term reactive responses that ignore the central role of land management in building flood resilience. Our report makes three recommendations that would lead to a greater level of resilience for either the same or lower cost than current approaches, including to establish a dedicated fund for natural flood management.
This project is supported by the John Ellerman Foundation.
The majority of UK land is managed for agriculture. The food sector has a major role to play in restoring the health of the UK’s natural environment through more sustainable agricultural supply chains.
Building on our partnership with Nestlé, we will be convening a Food and Nature Task Force to identify ways in which the food sector can most effectively address the environmental impacts of the food system, working with government, civil society and others to introduce new policies and practices to help green food supply chains.
Engaging with scienceEnabling better NGO and academic collaboration
We are working with the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) on a project to explore how to improve engagement and collaboration between NGOs and academics on the natural environment. There's a strong appetite on both sides for closer working: to enable NGOs access to cutting edge academic research to inform their advocacy; and for academics to understand the relevance of their work to policy and service delivery.
Pressures of time, resources and different ways of working can mitigate against productive relationships. We are looking at how to overcome these barriers and maximise collaboration.
Green Alliance worked with NERC in 2013 to explore its existing relationships with NGOs. Under this new project we have run a workshop on food policy and research, trialling a knowledge exchange, and we are now mapping opportunities for NGOs to engage with NERC’s strategic decision making.
The Great AccelerationHow should the UK respond to the decline of natural systems?
Our journal Inside Track invited Professor Will Steffen of the Stockholm Resilience Centre to describe the findings of his research into the phenomenon known as the Great Acceleration: the fast increasing impact of human activities on natural systems since 1950. It also features articles by a former senior civil servant, the National Trust and Nestlé on how government, the public and business in the UK should respond.