Wild animals are the unsung heroes of climate action

Source: IFAW


For humans and animals alike, climate change represents an existential threat to our way of life. In fact, our fates are inextricably linked. Despite our human tendency to see ourselves as separate from nature, we are very much a part of it. If nature suffers, we suffer too.  

Understandably given what is at stake for millions of people all over the world, including many of the already most vulnerable, there is a desire to prioritize human over animal victims. But what if we stopped looking at animals as purely victims of the climate crisis, and instead recognized them also as our allies in addressing it?  

There is a growing understanding of the importance of nature in combatting climate change. But even in that conversation the focus has tended to be on places—forests, wetlands, mangroves, or seagrasses. These are critical ecosystems for addressing climate change, but they are not static; they do not exist in isolation from their component partsincluding animalsthat enable them to function and provide critical services such as absorbing and storing carbon from the atmosphere. Science is increasingly showing us that the animals inhabiting and engineering these ecosystems are some of our most powerful allies in combatting climate change. Wildlife has a remarkable but unrecognized way of driving ecosystem processes, including the carbon cycle, and these can be harnessed as nature-based solutions to the climate crisis. 

Read more: Wild animals are the unsung heroes of climate action