Biodiversity and climate change

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By Carolyn Wincer, 2nd May 2022

In this article, Travelife for Accommodation discusses the relationship between biodiversity and climate change and suggests the types of actions that can be taken as part of your sustainability strategy.

Because the conversation around climate change is largely dominated by fossil fuels, many of the actions we take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are heavily focused on reducing our use of these fuels through changing our transportation and energy use habits. This is indeed a critical and urgent part of taking climate action, but to be really effective we need to take a more holistic approach by considering how we can all improve in other areas that have a big impact on climate change such as water, food and biodiversity, the latter of which we focus on in this article.

The relationship between climate change and biodiversity

By taking the right actions, and taking them swiftly, ecosystems can play an important role in both removing carbon from the atmosphere and mitigating the impacts of extreme weather events that we can expect to intensify as the climate destabilises. Below we have the ways that ecosystems can help us with climate change along with some suggestions about actions a business could take to support and encourage related biodiversity initiatives.

Carbon dioxide removal

Forests, wetlands, marshes and many other ecosystems do an excellent job of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the problem is that we are producing too much carbon dioxide for current ecosystems to process. Whilst this is a longer-term strategy and it would be much better for us to drastically reduce carbon emissions, planting and protecting ecosystems that process carbon dioxide is an important part of taking climate action.

Protection from climate events and rising sea levels

When it comes to protecting us from the impacts of climate change, again forests play a pivotal role by helping to prevent landslides and controlling water flows, whilst wetlands and flood plains in their natural state can help with both water flow during flood events, as well as maintaining good water quality. Mangroves play a critical role in coastal defence along with sand dunes and coastal wetlands.

Actions that can be taken

Protecting and restoring biodiversity, whilst increasing the volume of these important ecosystems, is an essential part of climate action and should form part of any organisation’s sustainability strategy. Here are some suggestions from us to get you started.

Supporting carbon dioxide removal

You could allocate funds and time to support a tree planting or rewilding project, and if you live in an area prone to forest fires, find out what you can do to support replanting after fires. 

Only buy paper products that have a reputable sustainability certification and when possible, opt for ones that are both made from recycled materials and can be recycled again. 

Supporting ecosystems that protect us from climate change

Support an initiative that protects ecosystems like forests, wetlands, dunes or mangroves. This could be through donations, volunteering and/or raising awareness. 

Consider creating your own area to plant, restore/rewild and/or protect. For inspiration you can click here to read about how a Travelife Certified hotel in Cyprus worked to restore and conserve sand dunes.

Ideas for smaller businesses and budgets

Click here to read an earlier article from us about how to get started with supporting biodiversity that includes simple yet effective actions you can take on a local level.

More about Travelife

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Celebrating some of the Travelife Certified properties that have gone above and beyond with their sustainability work.  Click here to visit the hotel showcase page.

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