Social HALF: The Nature Strategy for Sustainability
Written by: Vance G. Martin and Julie Anton Randall
Published in: International Journal of Wilderness, Volume 19, Number 2, August 2013
Social HALF is a concept that bridges the often disparate fields of nature conservation and human development. It is the human dimension complement Nature Needs Half of (NNH) – an aspirational and practical vision of sustainability (Martin 2011; Sylven 2011) based on the scientific information that keeping at least half of wild nature intact and interconnected is vital to ensuring continued life-supporting services to all species. The “half” in nature can be composed of interconnected large land- and seascapes or a connected mosaic of wild nature found in parks, forests, refuges, working lands, and waters managed with conservation as a primary value. NNH is also a cost- efficient and effective means of mitigating climate change by keeping atmosphere-altering chemicals such as carbon, methane, and others safely locked up (WILD 2009).
Social HALF is the application of NNH to conceptualize a holistic, inclusive, and rational approach to sustainable development whereby the social and economic needs of human communities are addressed by protecting a specific quantity (at least half) and quality (high-functioning ecosystems and intact biodiversity) of nature. This WILD Foundation working paper, entitled the “Nature Strategy for Sustainability” (NSS), is formulated by a network of nature conservationists and human development practitioners that prioritizes the protection of nature for its fundamental role in alleviating human suffering, enhancing human security, and promoting economic prosperity. When NSS is fully established it will support international guidelines, replicable models, and practical tools for application in policy, management, and communications worldwide.