Do you want to help prevent a mass extinction? Then read on, because nature is crying out for help and it’s essential to all the things we need to survive – and to thrive. 

‘Biodiversity’ simply means the variety of life on earth. It’s not just about the polar bears and koalas, but the whole ecosystem. Take butterflies. They don’t just look beautiful: they are nature’s way of showing us the effects of climate change, and we’re starting to see strange patterns

That’s why, for our latest storytelling series NatureFutures, we’re mapping innovations in nature, wildlife and citizen science: from Catalonia to Patagonia. Take comfort in the fact that so many people care enough to painstakingly record data on insects and birds and plants and lions. 

NatureFutures projects are featured on the site in English, Spanish and Catalan. (Yes, we’ve gone trilingual!) To kick off, we asked five biodiversity experts how you can fix the future.  

? All videos are subtitled in English/Catalan:


1. Meet the WWF heavyweight

Sir David Attenborough has called for ‘A New Deal for Nature and People’ to recognise the link between the health of nature, the wellbeing of a global population that will grow to nine billion and the future of our planet. WWF International’s Dr Lin Li is the biodiversity conservationist making his wish a reality.  


2. Bird-spotting in Catalonia aids biodiversity

Never underestimate the power of a bird. A critical part of our ecological system, we need birds as pest control to eat insects, to move seeds and pollen around, and to transfer nutrients from sea to land. If you know your yellow-browed warbler from your bluethroat, Julia Alcaraz Capsada wants you to know about – the online citizen science project dedicated to the exchange of information about ornithology.

(Comment below if you want to know where Julia got her t-shirt.)


3. Help scientists spot unusual species

A new butterfly in Sierra Nevada, fancy lobster in Barcelona and surprising fish in the Balearic Islands may seem like good news, but some species are not always welcome. New, invasive species can cause hundreds of plants, fish and amphibians to disappear. Bernat Claramunt explains how sharing information about invasive species is easy – and helpful – with this Natusfera platform.


4. The butterfly effect in Catalonia 

A drop in butterfly populations has a domino effect on the whole ecosystem. To contribute to their conservation, we must analyse the wonderful world of their diversity. Plant-pollinator researcher Ignasi Bartomeus tells us about the Catalan Butterfly Monitoring Scheme – one of the biggest citizen science networks in Europe. Go out butterfly-spotting, because that can have a huge butterfly effect.


5. The women shaping diverse green and black cities

Green & Black Ambassadors want you to go outside and embrace the countryside: take in all the different orchids and go mushroom-spotting. Because if more people cared about nature, citizen involvement could become the key to conservation. Environmental activist Zakiya Mckenzie addresses the exclusion of black and minority ethnic communities in environmental efforts.


AtlasAction: For NatureFutures, we have partnered with the Ministry of Territory and Sustainability of the Government of Catalonia ► Read more NatureFutures projects.