Increasing inequity. Degradation and destruction of nature. Escalating climate impacts. Understanding these and other threats — and changing their trajectories — requires a fundamental understanding: The root causes of the challenges facing people, nature and climate are deeply interconnected. We must tackle them together and at the same time.

Human activity to meet the need for food, energy and shelter is the primary driver of climate change and disruptor of healthy ecosystems. Likewise, the effects of climate change and ecosystem loss exacerbate human inequity, with the greatest harm suffered by those with the least capacity to respond.

That’s why our strategy puts three interconnected goals for people, nature and climate at the center of all we do.

Addressing these goals in tandem can help create win-wins, ensure lasting impact and reduce the risk of negative trade-offs. For example, adding trees to farms can boost crop yields, reduce the need for deforestation, sequester carbon and increase farmers’ incomes. Those are changes that simultaneously benefit people, nature and the climate.

Our three goals intentionally align with and help achieve existing international targets, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Framework and the Paris Agreement on climate change:

Goal 1: Ensure people are living in an equitable society where they can meet their essential needs.

The world’s great transition can leave no one behind. All people must be able to take advantage of social, economic, political and environmental opportunities — especially those historically marginalized because of gender, race or socioeconomic status, or people who depend on high-carbon industries for their livelihoods. This is as much a moral imperative as a practical one: The great transition will not be politically palatable if it doesn’t fundamentally benefit people.

WRI aims to give all communities a voice in the policy decisions that directly affect them — from energy siting to infrastructure spending. We invest in initiatives chosen by marginalized and disadvantaged groups, such as adaptation projects led by communities at the front lines of climate impacts. We work to dismantle the structural barriers that keep people trapped in poverty and disproportionately constrained by the climate and nature crises. And we work to build political momentum for durable change.

Goal 2: Protect and restore ecosystem health.

Healthy ecosystems underpin human lives and economies. Fertile soil and ample water are essential for food production. Plants provide vital medicines. Mangroves and wetlands protect us from floods and erosion. Meanwhile, forests, the ocean and other ecosystems absorb more than half of the carbon dioxide the world emits.

Yet commodity production and consumption patterns — especially those driven by wealthy nations — are destroying the natural resources upon which all communities depend. WRI aims to halt the conversion of forests and other ecosystems while continuing to meet the world’s growing need for food, water, timber and other goods. We will protect healthy landscapes and restore degraded ones to safeguard nature, reduce emissions, and improve lives and livelihoods.

Goal 3: Limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C and support communities in adapting to climate change.

Global temperatures have already risen more than 1 degree C above pre-industrial levels, making us vulnerable to droughts, floods and heat waves and putting human lives at risk. People living in poverty —those who had little role in creating the climate crisis — are least able to respond, but most likely to bear the brunt of its effects.

Research shows that preventing increasingly severe climate impacts requires limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F), reducing global greenhouse gases by close to half by 2030 (compared to 2010 levels), and achieving net-zero emissions by midcentury. WRI works to achieve the 1.5 degrees C target while building resilience to climate impacts.