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 are encouraging leaders to commit to protect at least 30 percent of the 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.
We humans pride ourselves on our ability to look beyond immediate concerns and think on a grander scale. […] Yet we are often poor at focusing on and understanding the things which really matter. A new mass extinction is under way, and this time we are mostly responsible. The new UN Global Assessment Report warns that a million plant and animal species are at risk of being wiped out.
When the findings of a landmark UN report on biodiversity came out last week, the headlines ran the gamut from depressing to apocalyptic. One million species face extinction, readers were told. Almost a third of the world’s reef-forming coral species, more than a third of its marine mammals, and 40 percent of its amphibian species could die out. And that’s just the number of species.
Akagera National Park was badly degraded by poachers and settlers, but thanks to an innovative conservation effort it is now home again to the Big Five and a growing tourism business.
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).