12 Fuzzy, Slimy, and Innovative Nature-Based Climate Solutions

BY: Nina Joung

The damage that climate change has done to our natural environment is unquestionable. From forest fires and submerged islands to blanched coral reefs and new endangered species, climate change has altered our earth’s biodiversity and landscapes.

But nature doesn’t have to just be a victim to climate change — it can also be a part of the solution.

For the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we’re celebrating nature-based solutions and the people behind them, whether they be New England seaweed farmers or Scotland’s clean energy engineers.

But what are nature-based climate solutions?

According to The Nature Conservancy,

“Nature-based solutions refer to the sustainable management and use of nature for tackling challenges such as climate change, water and food security, biodiversity protection, human health, and disaster risk management.”

Natural resources as well as plant and animal behaviors can play a significant role in reversing climate change. Here are our favorite stories that showcase the power and innovation of nature-based climate solutions. 

The Power of Clean Energy

Clean energy, or energy made through renewable sources or saved through energy efficiency measures, is a familiar nature-based climate solution, but its impact should not be underestimated! About 30% of our global warming emissions come from electricity usage, making 100%-clean-energy promises from cities and renewable energy commitments from major companies like Toyota and Walmart crucial in lowering these emissions. See where else renewable energy can be implemented:  

Scientists Work to Harness Power from Hawaii’s Waves

Scotland sees renewable energy; jobs through tidal currents (part 1 of 2)

Would you live in a 100% solar-powered community?

Animal Instinct Can Be a Climate Saver

This baby tamarin is part of a species of squirrel-sized monkeys that are helping seed new forests. | Source: Brocken Inaglory

Animals like tiny rainbow fish, oysters, and high-climbing mountain pikas use their natural behaviors to heal some of the damage caused by climate change — and, in some cases, give us humans an important warning regarding climate change.

‘Living shorelines’ use oyster shells and marsh grass to reverse coastal erosion

Can these tiny fish protect coral reefs against climate change?

How are elephants and monkeys working to protect you from climate change?

What the World’s Cutest Animal Can Teach Us About Saving Ourselves

Innovations in Nature that are Climate-friendly

Catherine Puckett harvesting kelp with fellow ocean farmers Charley Gale, Jon Grant, Kerri Gaffett and Dale Taylor. | Source: Catherine Puckett

Whether it be growing coral reefs from the demolished Tappan Zee Bridge or 3D ocean farming, natural solutions can thrive in unexpected places. These climate solutions combine natural and man-made resources to create innovative climate solutions and show how nature can adapt to climate change.

New Life For An Old Bridge

A new generation of ocean farmers are reducing pollution with seaweed

How To Suck Carbon Dioxide Out of the Sky

A New Orleans community is fighting climate change from their backyards

Climate change pushes Florida’s mangroves north