Today, just under half of the planet is in a natural state. We need bold new ideas and leaders from around the world to step up and protect what is left so that life on Earth can continue to thrive.
That’s why we’re encouraging leaders to commit to protect at least 30 percent of land and sea by 2030.
Why 30 Percent?
Every day, we rely on nature for the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. But our natural world is disappearing at an alarming rate. Experts agree that to prevent a global extinction crisis, support a growing global population, and address climate change, we must conserve at least half of our planet in its natural state. As a critical milestone toward achieving that goal, we need to protect 30 percent of the planet by 2030.
What is needed?
As of January 2019, 15 percent of land and 7 percent of the ocean are covered by protected areas. To reach the goal of protecting 30 percent of the planet, world leaders must work collaboratively with other governments, indigenous communities, and other partners to ensure effective management of new and existing protected areas.
How do we get there?
Ten years ago, leaders established global targets that led to a significant increase in the area of land and ocean under protection. But there’s more work needed to safeguard life on Earth. In October 2020, world leaders have the opportunity to once again increase global ambition and set a target that will help pave the way to a sustainable planet.
“This is the level of ambition we need because this is the last chance to secure a functional living planet for people and other forms of life.”
– Tom Lovejoy, Conservation biologist known as the “Godfather of Biodiversity”
Explore the latest news about global efforts to protect nature.
Conservation Organizations Call for an Ambitious Plan to Safeguard Our Planet
Conservation is core to the National Geographic Society’s DNA. More than a century ago, National Geographic magazine’s first full-time editor, Gilbert H. Grosvenor, was invited to trek through the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
Surge in Marine Refuges Brings World Close to Protected Areas Goal
A record surge in the creation of marine protected areas has taken the international community close to its goal of creating nature refuges on 17% of the world’s land and 10% of seas by 2020, according to a new UN report.
Indigenous Peoples Defend Earth's Biodiversity — but They're in Danger
Comprising less than 5% of the world's population, indigenous people protect 80% of global biodiversity. Their role is under discussion by world leaders this week.
Photographs by: Michael Nichols, National Geographic (top); Enric Sala, National Geographic (Why 30%); Michael Nichols, National Geographic (What is Needed?); William Albert Allard, National Geographic (How do we get there?); Michael Nichols, National Geographic (quote).