Social Half
The nature strategy for sustainability
Photo Credit: Solly LeviOriginal Authors – Vance G. Martin & Julie Anton Randall
Re-written by Bruce Coetzee
The Social Half concept is a relatively simple idea that seeks to bridge the divide between conservation and sustainable human development. It is a human approach founded on the principle that "Nature needs half (NNH)" to function effectively and looks at innovative, practical means to achieve this. The sustainability vision is set about by scientific information and data, which affirms that we must ensure that at least half of our wilderness and wild areas remain intact and interconnected. Doing so not only preserves ecosystems and biodiversity but also ensures that nature can continue providing life-sustaining services that support every living species on earth. The half in question needs to comprise a mosaic of interconnected land and seascapes encompassing a diverse and varied scope of managed conservation areas. The value of NNH is tied to this diversity, and we need to include forests, reserves, parks, working lands and protected waters if we are to see the vision of a prosperous future for all species continue.
NNH presents a formidable approach to tackling one of the most pertinent threats facing humanity: climate change. Utilising cost-effective and efficient mechanisms that mitigate the escalation of global temperatures and allow nature to deal with volatile emissions in a balanced natural order, requires that we work within the bounds of our atmosphere's abilities. The Social Half approach application of NNH aims to conceptualise a holistic, realistic and, more importantly, rational approach to sustainable human development, whereby economic and human needs can be addressed by preserving the half of nature needed to support life.

The WILD Foundation's working paper entitled" Nature Strategy for Sustainability" was collectively formulated by a team of conservationists and human development practitioners. It has prioritised the protection of nature as a fundamental principle in alleviating the three most significant social issues we face on a global scale. It underlines the three principal challenges and seeks to resolve each through the NSS framework. 
It is an outlined basis that encompasses a variety of strategic solutions geared toward alleviating human suffering, enhancing human society, and promoting economic prosperity whilst laying the foundations for improvement by preserving our existence, which is only possible by preserving the natural environment.
The NSS aims to support international conservation and social enrichment guidelines by utilising reliable models that use practical tools in applying the principles of NNH within policy formulation and management worldwide. Only when we are on the same page can we drive the initiative towards a common interest, the continued functioning of critical natural systems. Several alarming facts have compounded the urgency for action, and among those were highlighted at the WILD 9,9th World Wilderness Congress (WWC), held in Mexico late half of 2009. The WWC and 25 endorsing independents presented the NNH global vision and a" new social movement for nature conservation". The loss and degradation of nature is now a daily headline, and The Convention on Biological Diversity (2010) reports that there are multiple indications of continuing declines of biodiversity in all three main planetary components, which support a viable ecological balance. The essential factors compounding the degradation are declines in genetic integrity, species variability and ecosystem stability, which form a principal cast of inevitable collapse, should any of these fail.
Photo Credit: Solly LeviProtected wilderness areas that can remain untouched and interconnected are essential to stabilising global ecological systems. Often these areas are not chosen for ecological values but are selected due to pressures which stem from economic, political or human needs criteria. A drastic change in the human dynamic and a shift in the approach to human development must begin with a straightforward question," what does nature need to be sustainable?". Nature is fast reaching the point at which it will surpass a critical threshold, and perhaps we have already pushed too far. The planet's ecosystems have contributed to human development throughout our history. It has provided immeasurable benefits to the advancement and evolution of social societies; however, this has come at a cost which can no longer be ignored. The benefits attributed to us cannot be sustained when we continue to degrade the natural systems which allow them to continue. Ecosystem change and human development often yield initial benefits for only a select number of stakeholders, whilst the exacting costs are burdened upon marginalised groups, those without political or economic power concerning resource management decisions. The poor have a very low adaptive capacity compared to those more affluent. The slightest offset that is supposed to keep nature and humanity in balance can have devastating social effects.
Ultimately, we will all pay the price for ecological degradation, not just the lawmakers. The increased pressure on an already exhausted nature has proven to be proportionate in terms of human suffering.
The Social Half criteria endeavours to alleviate many of humankind's pitfalls by objectively solving the single most crucial issue compounding a current state of social disarray. Fundamental human rights and social equity form a critical component of the NNH strategy plan and rely on our natural accrued benefits to see it succeed.