Thick grey clouds arriving into a blue sky, above sea wall covered in greenery

Adapting to climate change in a sustainable way

Climate change is having a huge impact on nature right now and it will do so for the decades to come. It is vital that we put in place measures now so we can adapt in the most sustainable ways possible for the future.

Working with nature

View across a flooded field at Fen Drayton RSPB reserve, Cambridgeshire. The former gravel pits, now important habitat for wildfowl & waders are flooded by bright blue water, trees and vegetation emerging from under the surface.

Nature is a key ally in the fight against climate change. By improving the way we look after our landscapes we can create ideal habitats for wildlife, increase their ability to store carbon and counter effects of extreme weather, such a flooding.


Further necessary adaptions, such as creating new sources of clean power, need to be considered in a way which minimises their impact on wildlife.

Potential Negative Impacts

Close up view of very dry, brown ground, with multiple cracks throughout

Without research and planning, our actions in response to climate change could have a severe impact on our wildlife.


One example is how an increase in droughts in the UK could see a higher demand placed on our rivers and streams by farming, industry and in our homes. This could mean rivers with already low levels could drop even further, dramatically harming our river wildlife.

Further action needed

Large solar panels on the muddy ground, on the edge of Minsmere reserve car park

Putting in place measures to adapt to climate change is just part of the answer. Only by reducing our reliance on fossil fuels can we achieve zero emissions, which is essential to limit the effects of climate change to a level where ourselves, and nature, can adapt.

Find out more about our clean energy policy here.

Our Vision

Adult swift poking its head out of a specially created Swift nesting brick on the side of a new build house, Fulbourn, Cambridgeshire

It is vital for people and for nature that we adapt to the challenges caused by climate change in a sustainable way.


The UK Climate Change Act (2008) clearly sets out objectives to ensure sustainable development. These are an important commitment and set a precedent for adapting in a sustainable way in the future.

Commitments needed

Recycled sink being used as a wildlife pond, surrounded with signage "give nature a home" and "frog den", leaned up against a wooden shed at RSPB Coombes Valley Nature Reserve

To ensure a future rich in wildlife, governments and businesses must adopt the following principles:

  • Recognition that a healthy natural environment must underpin any shift to a more sustainable way of living
  • Adaptions to fight climate change should not adversely impact on nature
  • Nature based solutions should be prioritised wherever possible
  • Action should be taken across all relevant sectors to support wildlife’s adaptation to climate change