When it comes to the ecological crisis, the expert Todd Gartner, from WRI, insisted on betting on an “all of the above” solution: reduce consumption and emissions while investing in technology and nature, “the most cost-effective” available.

This was explained by Gartner, director of the Cities4Forests program at the World Resources Institute (WRI), in an interview with EFE within the framework of World Water Week 2022, a meeting on water that took place this week in Stockholm (Sweden).

The specialist stressed the commitment to Nature-Based Solutions (often called by its acronym, SBN), actions for ecosystem improvements aimed at resisting climatic impacts related to water (such as droughts or floods), and to mitigate The warm-up.

According to Gartner, investments in SBN are booming especially in Latin America and other regions of the Global South, where there is “the greatest opportunity to deploy nature for a multitude of benefits”, as it is in this part of the world where “there is going to be the highest percentage of investment in infrastructure in the next two decades”.

Thus, “the decisions we make regarding how the infrastructure is developed” will make a difference, he defended, and warned that “if we limit ourselves to built systems”, that is, to concrete, “we condemn ourselves to a future of three degrees” of warming (relative to pre-industrial levels).

That is why in Latin America and the Caribbean there are “hundreds of projects, most of them on a relatively small scale,” he added, “but together they represent an enormous number of benefits in terms of water, clean air, employment for local communities” and other improvements. for human and environmental health.

Gartner argued that SBNs are currently the most economically profitable, being “the most cost-effective option available”, although it is true that “the longer we wait, the more expensive and more difficult it is going to be” to obtain results in time to reverse the ecological devastation, a challenge that the scientific community calculates will have to be overcome in less than a decade.

When he talks about SBN, this expert thinks of two different scales: on the one hand, those that are designed for cities and, on the other, those of hydrographic basins.

On an urban scale, he gave the example of Jakarta (Indonesia), a city that the WRI has helped pass a regulation that requires planting more trees in the city so that each neighborhood has a green space “within walking distance” by 2030 .

If the initiative is successful, it can achieve several things: “reduce urban flooding; drastically clean the air, as trees and green areas act as a filter; and achieve a healthier society thanks to opportunities for leisure and exercise in the open air. Gartner recalled.

Regarding the hydrographic basin scale, the expert specifically referred to the case of Vitória, in Espírito Santo (Brazil).

In the last decade, this state has suffered a severe drought that has lowered the average contribution of rainwater by 65%, according to official records, a fact that has contributed to a water crisis that has motivated water rationing policies and supply cuts.

Last year, a study by the WRI team in Brazil showed that the government of Espírito Santo could earn more from its investments in reserves by investing in green infrastructure, such as native forests that help keep watersheds healthy.

Thus, the WRI has just promoted the development of a plan that “will lead to the restoration of more than 600,000 acres of priority forests around the cities” of this Brazilian state.

Gartner stressed that this commitment to forest cover will “dramatically” guarantee that more water is available, which will translate into “more water security for decades” at a much lower cost than if they “simply tried to build their way out of the challenges they face” with gray infrastructure.

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