Why protecting nature is so essential for society

As our towns and cities continue to grow, it’s easy to overlook the profound impact that nature has on our society.

However, as we navigate the ecological crisis, it becomes increasingly evident that the wellbeing of both the environment and humanity are intrinsically linked. The RSPB emphasises this connection in their insightful report, 'Without nature, there is no food,' shedding light on the critical role nature plays in sustaining not only our ecosystems but also our very existence. 

In this guide, we delve into the importance of nature for society in the UK, what the ongoing ecological crisis means for us all, and the proactive steps we can take to support and protect our natural world.

The ecological crisis in the UK

The ecological crisis - characterised by climate change, loss of biodiversity and habitat degradation - poses a severe threat to our planet. In the UK, these challenges manifest in the form of disappearing wildlife, degraded landscapes and an imbalance in ecosystems. 

The ongoing decline in biodiversity has direct implications for food production, water quality and overall environmental stability. As we witness the alarming consequences of climate change, from extreme weather events to disruptions in agriculture, it’s becoming even more urgent to address the root causes and protect the natural systems that sustain us.

Why we need nature

Nature plays a multifaceted role in supporting society, with far-reaching impacts on our economy, health and overall wellbeing. As there is a symbiotic relationship between nature and food production, we rely on healthy ecosystems to continue to allow us to grow food. Maintaining fertile soils, a stable climate and pollinating vital crops can only happen if we protect our native ecology. 

Nature does more than feed us - access to green spaces and natural environments contributes to improved mental health, reduced stress levels and enhanced community living.

Biodiversity, often seen as a measure of how healthy an ecosystem is, is crucial for helping nature to remain resilient in the face of climate change, because diverse ecosystems are better equipped to adapt to environmental changes.

Without nature, there is no food

The RSPB report serves as a poignant reminder that our food production systems are intimately connected to the health of our ecosystems.

Our naturally diverse range of environments and habitats forms an intricate web which support the growth of crops, fruits, vegetables and livestock. This complex biodiversity helps our food sources to stay resilient against pests, diseases and changing environmental conditions. Natural processes like soil fertility and water purification contribute directly to the productivity of our farming systems. 

Pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, play a pivotal role in agriculture by facilitating the reproduction of crops - so the worrying decline in their populations poses a direct threat to our food security. 

Sustainable farming practices, habitat restoration and the reduction of harmful pesticides are essential steps to support biodiversity and ensure the long-term survival of both nature and our food systems.

How to support nature

While the scale of the climate and ecological crisis can feel overwhelming, there are simple actions that each of us can take to help our society move towards a more sustainable world.

Supporting organisations like the RSPB, which actively engage in habitat conservation and restoration projects, is crucial. These efforts aim to protect critical ecosystems, preserve biodiversity, and create sustainable environments for both wildlife and people.

Supporting sustainable farming and food production helps to encourage more nature-friendly methods, reduce reliance on harmful chemicals and promote practices which are positive for biodiversity and the overall health of our ecosystems. When you are able to, buying locally-produced or organic produce from small local producers shows that you care about protecting our local habitats, and also reduces your food miles. You can make a big impact by opting for products with eco-friendly certifications and ethical practices - this includes sustainably sourced wood, seafood and other resources that can help reduce the impact on natural habitats.

Get involved in community conservation initiatives - there are plenty of tree planting initiatives and wildlife-friendly gardening programs across the UK, designed to create a positive impact on a grassroots level. Volunteer your time, participate in community clean-ups and support initiatives focused on habitat restoration and wildlife protection.  Contributing to projects like the Big Butterfly Count or bird-watching surveys provides valuable information for researchers and helps track changes in biodiversity. You can head to our Events section to find more events across the South West, and download our free calendar to join in with national and international awareness days.

The West of England Nature Partnership (WENP) has led the development of a vision for a Nature Recovery Network in the West of England - a joined up network of marine and terrestrial habitats where nature and people can thrive - as well as the Forest of Avon Plan, a long-term, generational vision for trees and woodlands across the West of England. 

You can transform your outdoor space into a haven for wildlife by planting native flowers, shrubs and trees. Add food sources like bird feeders and insect-friendly plants to attract a diverse range of species, and avoid using pesticides that can harm pollinators and other beneficial insects.

We can also play our part by reducing pollution where possible - recycling, opting for reusable items and cutting down on single-use helps to keep plastic waste out of our waterways and ecosystems. Saving water through water-saving appliances, using a water butt to water your garden and being mindful of your water use helps to support aquatic life, and also lowers your water bill! Turning off unnecessary lights at night (particularly outdoor lights) really helps nocturnal species to thrive, and reduces your energy use too.

Lastly, choosing eco-friendly transportation options such as walking, cycling or public transport helps to minimise both air and noise pollution, contributing to the wellbeing of urban and rural ecosystems. A more leisurely journey can also help you to connect more with nature, so why not try taking the scenic route by bike?


Nature is not a separate entity from society; it is an integral part of our existence.

As the ecological crisis unfolds, acknowledging the profound impact of nature on our wellbeing becomes imperative. 

By supporting conservation efforts, adopting sustainable practices, engaging with our community and raising awareness, we can forge a path towards a harmonious coexistence with nature - something which is essential for both our society, and for the nature we share it with.