At Reforestation World we like to focus on positive actions to fight back the ongoing loss of forests and the degradation of ecosystems, soil and livelihoods. We feel there is a need to act, with urgency.
We also felt we needed a different type of newsletter this month.
Is this a turning point in history?
Climate change has been on and off the news for a long time, but it looks like two big events have converged and changed the mood dramatically. A turning point?
First, the wildfires in the Amazon rainforest. The scale – and the causes behind these – launched a collective wave of alarm and indignation around the world. Many people could also relate to their own country or region: devastating wildfires have become common from the tropics (Amazon, Africa, Indonesia) to the arctic (Siberia, Alaska), including Europe, Australia and West USA. For more context on global fire trends and causes, we recommend reading this Global Forest Watch article.
The other big event: the climate protests started by young people, that have spread (almost) globally in less than one year. Fueled by all the bad news and fear about climate change, they’ve united different generations and groups into a common demand for immediate action. Politicians from left to right have been forced to respond in emergency mode – a surprising achievement – either feeling the public support or fearing for their vote count. Targets and deadlines have changed but many of the proposed measures revolve around more technology. Will good solutions emerge from this?
The root of the problem, and the solutions
The current discussion is dominated by CO2-emissions, compensation mechanisms and adopting more technology, but we see this as fighting the symptoms instead of the root causes. Besides reducing emissions of CO2 – and other greenhouse gases – we need to start using natural resources and energy in a smarter way, oriented for the long-term, and need to ensure that the benefits and costs of these activities are more fairly distributed within and between societies. And not just because of the climate.
As the video and book recommendation in this newsletter show, we already have solutions that are accessible to all and can restore the natural capital that sustains our lives. Project Drawdown, presented in the featured video, provides a “big picture” listing of doable measures, not technology promises, and the expected impacts over several decades (albeit based on models). Definitely worth checking.
It is also clear to us that the actions of a few are not sufficient. It has to be a larger movement where governments, businesses, people all start protecting and restoring instead of destroying with abandon, for ignorance or a quick win. In short, the system needs to change. It will take time to bring back what was so easily undone in the last 100 years and it will force us to change how we define progress and how we live. But change we must.
We already understand how connected things are, we just need to act in accordance.
Given the above, we want to highlight the #6D It’s Now! Initiative, a global chain of actions for climate change planned for the 6th of December 2019, to coincide with the upcoming COP25 in Chile. Everyone is invited to register an action – big or small – in their platform. The initiative is co-organised by one of our newest members, Corporación Cultiva (see below).
Our latest “Draw a Tree, we plant it” event, done this past September 7th at the Zurich Zoo, brought some very good results. Close to 1’000 people visited us and our invited projects in the lovely Pantanal setting. We collected over 300 tree drawings and will be sponsoring over 6’000 trees, to be planted by our members. The detailed results are here, and an album of selected drawings can be seen in our Facebook page.
- Corporación Cultiva, is mobilizing people and recovering native dryland forests in Chile. They are also organising the #6D It’s Now! global chain of actions for climate change, in time for the COP 25 in Santiago de Chile this December (see above).
- CAPED is active restoring mangroves with communities in Gambia. Working together with SYDA, another member project, they’ve planted more than 3 million mangroves so far and want to create a green corridor linking mangroves, new community forests and sanctuary areas.
- Voices From the Land: Restoring Soil and Enriching Lives (free pdf, 72 pages): this book, published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), presents several success stories of land restoration in Ecuador, Georgia, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar and Viet Nam. These show how local and global collaborations can achieve land degradation neutrality and contribute effectively to restoring the quarter of the planet’s land that is degraded.