CVA Updates

Being Nature Positive: How to Take Part in Nature’s Recovery

It’s clear there’s a problem with how we’re currently caring for nature.

Human activities are destroying our natural environment at a rate much faster than it can restore itself. This not only threatens nature, but us too.

The food we eat and the materials we use to build our homes and cities, as well as the technology we use in our daily lives – all depend on a healthy, functioning environment.

We need meaningful, impactful actions to build back nature and save ourselves from future catastrophes.

That’s where the Nature Positive movement provides a solution for nature’s recovery.

“Halt and Reverse Nature Loss” – The Global Goal for Nature

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are a global framework for a more sustainable world.

Sustainable Development Goal 15 (SDG 15) is dedicated to life on land. More specifically, it calls for us to ‘Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss’.

Echoing the tenets of SDG15, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework was adopted in 2022 and sets ambitious goals and targets for nature’s protection and recovery.

Building upon the these global goals and frameworks is the Nature Positive Initiative, which represents a coalition of partners wanting to “halt and reverse nature loss measured from a baseline of 2020, through increasing the health, abundance, diversity and resilience of species, populations and ecosystems so that by 2030 nature is visibly and measurably on the path of recovery”.

This entails guaranteeing more nature in the world by 2030 compared with 2020 and then continued recovery after that.

This Nature Positive movement is supported by multiple organisations across the world – including Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA).

We are urging governments to adopt the goal at the international level. But we can all take part. From local governments, businesses, communities, and yes – even single individuals and everyday Australians – we can all take part.

How CVA is helping Australians take action for Nature

CVA is the leading conservation volunteering organisation in Australia, and has been empowering people to take action for nature since 1982.
Through our volunteering programs and events, we focus on biodiversity restoration, restoring the health of our ocean, wetlands, and rivers, and on strengthening climate resilience.

We inspire everyday Australians to take action for Nature.

To date, we’ve helped Australians take over one million actions for nature. By 2030 we want to empower another one million actions for nature by inspiring people across the country to play an active role in protecting, restoring and building back nature.

Because nature needs it.

One Million Actions for Nature: a necessary goal

In 2023, CVA commissioned a report that showed a net increase of about 150 threatened species nationally in the two years since the landmark 2021 State of the Environment Report (SOE report).

This is compared with an increase of about 130 between the SOE reports from 2011 to 2021 (released every five years).

Not a great statistic, unfortunately.

We know that about half of all Australia’s threatened species live in urban areas, alongside 96% of the human population. As our need for urban housing grows, so does the need for land – which most often puts us at odds with nature.

By creating habitat corridors and by planting indigenous vegetation in backyards and communities, this offers positive impacts for urban wildlife. That includes increased food availability, better quality and variety of essential habitat, and potentially facilitating gene flow between isolated populations.

At CVA, we know that communities and citizens can play a role in conserving and restoring habitat through a range of actions.
To that end, CVA initiated the Nature Blocks initiative – in proud partnership with the Bupa Foundation – to put the power of change back in the hands of our communities, while improving their mental and physical wellbeing.

Woman creating a Nature Block, planting in a container.

Nature Blocks in action

Nature Blocks is an urban habitat restoration initiative.

The concept is simple: even an area as small as 1 metre x 1 metre (ie one square metre), in an unused corner of a backyard or balcony, can contribute to filling critical missing pieces in the urban habitat puzzle.

To achieve change at scale, Nature Blocks reconnects people with nature right in the heart of our cities, transforming concrete balconies and empty backyards into lush, vibrant ecosystems, one small block at a time.

With step-by-step guides and videos on the CVA App to teach people how to build their own Nature Block, we’ve made it simple, affordable and fun to take action for nature and to contribute towards making Australia nature positive.

Tran from Melbourne became inspired to build a Nature Block in her backyard.

Beyond the positive impact on nature, Nature Blocks responds to the escalating rates of mental illness and social isolation, recognising the emergence of the eco-anxiety phenomenon, by making simple actions available to everyone.

The benefits of engaging with nature are backed by a growing body of scientific evidence*. Regular contact with nature has been shown to increase feelings of calmness, boost endorphin levels, and enhance concentration. It can also mitigate symptoms of anxiety and depression while fostering a sense of community.

Sea The Change – how we’re tackling ocean pollution

Just as CVA is involved in taking action for nature on land, we’re also actively involved in protecting nature in the ocean.

The ocean is the pumping heart of our planet.

It provides us with oxygen, regulates our global climate through highways of moving currents, and provides food for people and marine wildlife alike.

However, our ocean is under threat from human impacts such as litter and other pollutants, which kill and injure wildlife, and also pose a threat to human health.

Over the next 5 years, we are committing to:

• Activating a community of people to remove 30 tonnes of rubbish from entering the environment.

• Continuing to contribute to CSIRO’s National Plastic Pollution Baseline Survey across the country.

• Improving biodiversity, climate resilience, blue carbon storage potential, and habitat for our hero species in 14 wetlands, 6 capital cities and 3 regional centres.

• Working alongside and supporting 80 community “care” and First Nations groups to catalyse action for ocean, wetlands and rivers.

To help Australians take action for our ocean, we’ve designed the SeaToSource Plastic Waste Challenge, which is a fun and engaging way to help identify and reduce your plastic footprint.

How you can be Nature Positive

CVA’s unique contribution to conservation lies in the people we engage. Every Australian performing an action for nature becomes an agent for nature-positive change in their community, amplifying the growth of stewardship in each community.

The guidance we provide ensures that actions taken make meaningful contributions to the needs of nature at the local level.

The CVA App, available on the App and Google Play stores is the best way you can find out about volunteering events near you.

You can also access how-to guides for building a Nature Block, while fighting plastic waste at home with the SeaToSource Plastic Waste Challenge – all for free!

At CVA, we want to help our communities become Nature Stewards and take the journey to being Nature Positive and reversing the loss of our natural world.

*Building for Life: Designing and Understanding the Human-Nature Connection; Stephen Robert Kellert, Yale University, January 2005.


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