The man-made threats to the natural world have become increasingly well-known, but the severity of the problem is not widely understood. Over two-thirds of our marine environment has been altered by human activity; more than a third of the world’s land surface is dedicated to crop or livestock production; and 1 million animal and plant species are currently threatened with complete extinction. Global biodiversity loss is the single biggest threat facing the world today, and is an issue that goes hand-in-glove with how we mitigate the impact of climate change.
Over the last 100 years, we have witnessed a wide-ranging reduction in biodiversity with the mass extinction of hundreds of animal species and the continued degradation of the natural environment. Our coral reefs have been damaged by increasing levels of pollution, and as we continue to produce record levels of carbon, we are witnessing the devastation of natural woodland and rainforests across the world.
Uniquely, this is not an issue that only impacts one community, one population, or one nation. This issue spans us all; a global issue that requires global attention and solutions. We all need to work together to prevent future biodiversity loss and reverse the impact of the last 100 years and more.
“While the survival of our planet and biodiversity might beginning to be at the forefront of the hearts and minds of the public, we need wholesale, practical changes in global policy to take immediate action now.”
The Turner Kirk Trust supports world-leading organisations that are best placed to raise awareness of this crisis and transform global understanding through the integration of research, practice, and policy from a multi-disciplinary perspective.
Given the scale of the problem, we believe that this issue can only be tackled by bringing diverse areas of expertise together to find common, practical and scalable solutions that can be implemented at a global level. This challenge must be tackled horizontally by taking a broad, collaborative approach that can bring about wide-scale change – not by operating in silos.
It’s this that guides the Trust’s work in this all-important area. Principally, the Turner Kirk Trust supports multi-disciplinary research programmes and fellowships that act as a springboard for innovative, cross-disciplinary solutions.
An innovative pilot project by SolarAid to provide solar lights to every household in an off-grid village in central Malawi, aiding their mission to light up all of rural Africa by 2030.
The University of Cambridge and the Turner Kirk Trust have launched the Kirk Global Challenge, a competition designed to jump-start economic growth in the developing world.
A new global fellowship programme at the Cambridge Conservation Initiative to protect biodiversity and foster interdisciplinary collaboration.
A new student-led research programme to develop new unmanned aerial vehicles to fight back against climate change and poaching, funded by the Trust.
A visiting fellowship programme hosted at the Isaac Newton Institute to support underrepresented groups within higher mathematical research.