Biodiversity: a nature positive University
As part of our journey to address the global ecological crisis, the University has pledged to protect wildlife and prevent nature loss by 2030.
We will protect nature and improve biodiversity across our activities - through our teaching, research, operations and supply chain. Our campus will become a haven for nature, bringing benefits for wildlife as well as our students and staff. These commitments will be set out in our new sustainability strategy, which will be published in 2024.
“Bio” = life and “diversity” = variety.
Biodiversity describes the variety of life on earth and is essential for supporting the processes that we all depend on. It includes plants, animals, fungi and bacteria and other all living things. We rely on the relationships between these diverse kingdoms to provide us with the resources we need to live, including food, clean water and a stable climate.
Today species are disappearing faster than ever in human history. Globally, at least 1.2 million plant and animal species are estimated to be under threat of extinction, many of them before 2100. Global wildlife populations have dropped by 69% on average since 1970.
This dramatic loss of biodiversity is not only an environmental crisis, but results in economic, social and ethical issues too. The most vulnerable people on the planet are those least responsible for the biodiversity and climate crises, but their lives and livelihoods are at the greatest risk.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme, the key drivers of biodiversity loss are:
- Invasive species: Our globalised economy, which depends on the transport of goods, has enabled the spread of invasive species.
- Changes in land use: Humans are responsible for changing rich natural habitats into land for urban or agricultural development.
- Climate change: Climate change-induced temperature increases may threaten as many as one in six species globally.
- Pollution: Chemical and plastic waste, and the use of pesticides and herbicides is a major cause of biodiversity and ecosystem change.
- Exploitation of natural resources: Unsustainable use of plants and animals endangers other species and also risks livelihoods.
What does 'nature positive' mean?
Nature positive means reversing the current declines in biodiversity, so that species and ecosystems begin to recover.
In our context as a University, being nature positive means restoring species and ecosystems that have been harmed by the University's activities and enhancing our positive impact on nature through teaching, research, operations, and across our campus.
We want our campus greenspaces to be vibrant havens for nature, not only for the countless species that call them home but also for the tremendous benefits they offer to us.
Health and wellbeing:
Embracing biodiversity in our green spaces isn't just about the critters and flora – it's about us too! Exposure to diverse natural elements has been proven to enhance our health and wellbeing. The soothing presence of greenery, clean air and the colours and noises of animal and plant life all contribute to a positive and calming atmosphere.
Climate change resilience:
Our green spaces are not only havens for relaxation but also silent warriors against climate change. They play a crucial role in helping us adapt to and mitigate the effects of a changing climate. From carbon sequestration to promoting resilience in the face of environmental challenges, biodiversity is a powerful ally in our fight for a sustainable future.
Nature for nature’s sake
We depend on services provided by nature, but some people believe that nature has intrinsic value and a moral right to exist, regardless of human dependence on it.
So, let's cherish and nurture the biodiversity on our campus. Together, we can create a campus that is a haven for both education and the environment!
How we are taking action for biodiversity
Our biodiversity plan
Explore our wild campus
Boost your biodiversity knowledge
Our Biodiversity Literacy Training is available to students and staff and examines why biodiversity is so important to our existence, explores key concepts such as ecosystem services and identifies the main drivers of biodiversity loss.
Search our lists of elective modules and degree programmes for 'conservation' and 'nature' to find out how to study biodiversity.