1.4.3 Mainstreaming

Course subject(s) Module 1. Introduction to Nature Based Metropolitan Solutions

The main reason for us to create this course was the importance of mainstreaming nature-based solutions. That’s why we want you to understand our aim of mainstreaming right from week 1.

Environmental impacts have for a long time been well known but were mostly regarded as an unfortunate but necessary and acceptable cost of development. With climate change accelerating and urbanization continuing in a more and more unsustainable manner, the urgency of change grows exponentially. Recently, the dialogue on the environment has significantly shifted towards the ways in which the environment can be managed to support human needs and nature-based solutions are being increasingly and more explicitly recognized in the global sustainable development and research agenda.

A key limit to the required change is the world’s capitalist system in which we externalized ourselves from nature and in which we are ignoring the disbalance between extraction and nature’s regenerative capacity. So how to move this economy-driven decision making towards sustainable investments focusing on the long term instead of only direct benefits?

The concept of nature-based solution underlines the misconception that sustainability and environment supportive interventions are things you do as an additional effort only to help the environment. Choosing for sustainable solutions is often considered as spending more money in service to the environment. And indeed, that the initial investment is often higher is true. But, embedded in the making of nature-based solutions is the delivery of proof that these interventions deliver benefits not only for the environment but also for society and the economy. Maybe this does not always end up as money in your pocket but there are so many more ways of gaining which nature-based solutions take into consideration. Businesses are increasingly interested in investing in nature-based solutions for many different reasons like limitations on their resources, new regulatory requirements, climate change, severe weather events, concerns of stakeholders, the financial benefits and other operational, financial and also reputational gains from environmental and social co-benefits.

The moment this misconception is understood and the beneficial nature-based solution concept becomes mainstream, our goal is reached. However, as you have seen in the NBS catalog, nature-based solutions know many different appearances. In order to facilitate mainstreaming, this course teaches the common concept behind all these types of interventions. Mainstreaming nature-based solutions means for this method to gain popularity and replace the established standard to become the new standard. A new standard which is reproducible globally and applicable by individuals, companies, communities, municipalities and regional, national and international governments.

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Nature Based Metropolitan Solutions by TU Delft OpenCourseWare is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://online-learning.tudelft.nl/courses/nature-based-metropolitan-solutions/.
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