What is biodiversity and why does it matter? 

At GEF we recognise that we are facing not just a climate emergency but also a biodiversity emergency, and that the two issues are intricately connected. 

In Surrey we are blessed with beautiful natural spaces including the Wey Navigation, the Surrey Hills AONB, ancient woodlands, chalk grassland and lowland heath habitats amongst others. Each of these habitats as well as all the other green spaces around us can support a rich natural resource which includes a unique collection of species and a network of plants, animals, fungi and single celled organisms upon which we ultimately depend and from which we can draw hope, inspiration and resources. 

The challenges of the pandemic have underlined to many of us how precious these places are for our emotional and physical wellbeing. However, it goes even deeper than that. It has been estimated in 2020 by the World Economic Forum that at least 50% of our global GDP relies directly on the ecosystem services provided by the natural world*. Nature provides us with resources for our industries and protective services such as flood protection and climate control. We cannot choose between development and the economy and nature protection. We MUST find a way to live our lives in a way that does not come at the cost of a healthy natural environment. We must make space for Nature. 

And yet we are systematically destroying the natural world. This is an issue on a global scale but also here in Surrey. The Surrey Nature Partnership 2017 report “The State of Surrey’s Nature” tells us for example that within the total of 404 priority species of national conservation concern that occur in Surrey 31.2% are already extinct locally, while 37.1% are threatened and/or remain in worrying decline. This only leaves the remaining 31.7% presently considered stable or recovering. 

Of a total of 4,242 species recorded and surveyed in Surrey, the 2017 report found that 33% were either already extinct, threatened with extinction, near threatened or in decline**. These figures put our impact on the natural world firmly in the league of mass-extinction event. 

GEF passionately believes that we must all do what we can to connect with and preserve our local natural environment and work to influence our local leaders and businesses to do the same. 


Website updates coming soon for our local work on: