Against the backdrop of the biggest global summit for living things, the United Nations Biodiversity Conference, UCLA has pledged to further help Earth’s animals and plants by joining the new Nature Positive Universities Alliance.
Created jointly by the UN Environment Programme and the University of Oxford, the alliance aims to spur the world’s higher education institutions to do more work that halts and reverses damage to natural areas so species and ecosystems can flourish. Being “nature positive” encompasses everything a university does, from its teaching and research endeavors to the operations that keep it running.
“Universities have an important role in addressing the global biodiversity crisis through research and teaching, and also through the hands-on opportunity for restoration and access to nature on our campuses,” said Nurit Katz, UCLA’s chief sustainability officer.
From classes like “Biodiversity for a Changing World” to student organizations like the Ecological Restoration Association and Bruin Birding Club to the university-wide Sustainable LA Grand Challenge to improve ecosystem health in Los Angeles County, UCLA is already addressing biodiversity.
UCLA’s sustainability plan takes this work further. The plan outlines more goals to better support biodiversity, such as providing healthy habitats for native pollinators, transitioning landscaping to climate-resilient plants and turning the 3.4 acre Sage Hill native habitat on campus into a formalized outdoor learning space for teaching and research.
By joining the alliance, UCLA commits to:
- carrying out baseline assessments
- setting goals
- taking action to protect and restore species and ecosystems
- producing an annual progress report for the alliance
“UCLA committed to biodiversity action in our comprehensive sustainability plan, and now we are excited to join universities around the world in the Nature Positive Pledge to build a community of practice to protect vital ecosystems,” Katz said.
As of the initiative’s launch at the UN Biodiversity Conference, also known as COP 15, 114 universities from 47 countries have taken the pledge to assess their environmental impact to make tailored actions to improve their ecological footprint on the planet. The initiative is part of the UN's Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a global movement involving communications, events, and a dedicated web platform to ramp up restoration and put the world on track for a sustainable future.