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Trinity College Dublin

What is nature+

Nature + is Trinity College Dublin initiative that aims to provide nature-based solutions to global sustainability and climate change challenges. Nature+ is composed by multi-disciplinary team of researchers based in the School of Natural Sciences at Trinity College Dublin.

Nature+ develops transferable methods for accurately measuring, reporting, verifying and managing natural capital, which underpins the flow of goods and services on which economic activities depend. By understanding the feedbacks between natural capital and climate systems, Nature + can design future-proof, sustainable solutions to ensure economic growth. Therefore, Nature + aims to demonstrate that Nature is not only a social and but also an essential economic asset, rather than a liability. Nature+’s vision is a world where Natural Capital stocks with multiple benefits for the economy, society and businesses are valued, sustainably used, renewed and restored.

Nature + research expertise spans social, ecological, geographical and geological sciences that explores cutting edge concepts, develop novel tools and applications, and exploit well-established interdisciplinary collaborations, nationally and internationally.

Why Nature+

Global warming is the biggest challenge that humanity has faced in its history in terms of scale and complexity. The great paradox is that the global economic models that are currently under threat from Climate Change have possibly been the largest contributors to this climatic disruption. This situation demands a radical and further disruptive change of current economic models to ones that are more sustainable. Climate change is already having a negative impact on current economic model and economies and it has been predicted that future warming will certainly reduce economic growth globally.

  1. Current natural resource exploitation practices are obsolete, inefficient and un-sustainable. They may produce an economic benefit in the short term, but economic growth is a futile myth at longer term.
  2. Many International Organisations (i.e. ECD, EU, etc) have identified nature-based solutions approach as a relevant one to tackle this challenge [1, 2].
  3. Nature-based solutions is an approach in which ecosystems (including its resources) are valued for its resources but also other indirect and fundamental services.

What are Nature-based solutions (NBS)

Nature-based solutions can be defined as “inspired and supported by nature” and that are “simultaneously cost-effective, while providing benefits from an environmental, social and economic point of view and building resilience for the future” [3].

The main idea of NBS is to engineer a solution that takes account of the natural chemical, physical and biological laws that rule our economy and societies in a more integrated manner to provide sustainable, cost-effective, multi-purpose and flexible alternative.

Through NBS, societies can promote greener economies – providing new jobs, economic growth, create new products and services and at the same time promote the restoration & maintenance of existing natural capital rather than its depletion [4].

Important knowledge gaps exist regarding the technical feasibility, commercial viability and market relevance of nature-based solutions. These must be addressed to make sure that businesses and local authorities invest in their financial sustainability through tangible climate action. Transitioning to newer more sustainable economic models requires public and private investment. This investment requires certainty and a plan to minimise risks. Research in NBS can provide the necessary evidence-based information required to make these important decisions and reveal potential opportunities towards greener economy.

Why Trinity

Founded in 1592, Trinity College Dublin is the number one university in Ireland, and ranked 88th in the world for the quality of its teaching and research. Knowledge created by Trinity is critical in shaping the education and opportunities we offer our students, and for the economic sustainability of Ireland itself. Through our Innovation and Entrepreneurship strategy Trinity seeks to harness
and maximise the societal and economic benefits from all newly generated ideas and technologies.

Researchers in the School of Natural Sciences have received national and international recognition for their work, with €7.6 million of funding secured from European Commission research programmes since 2014, over €11 million from national funders, and €5.8 million from industrial sources. Natural Sciences researchers contribute to SFI Research Centres iCRAG and BEACON,
and are members of European and global research collaborations.

Nature+ People