Soon after the global Fridays For Future began, a group of academics and concerned citizens started Researchers Desk to directly link academics and people and address common questions around the environment and climate change. We spoke with their founder, Toya:
"Researchers Desk was born 24/5-2019 at the 2nd Global School Strike For Future.
More and more climate related researchers are joining as we move forward in our aim to make the urgency of the climate disruptions known to, and understood by Everyone.
We give Street Lectures, hold classes and lectures as well as being available for discussions and Q&A's."
Co-founder Sicily Fiennes spoke to Dawa, an advocate and campaigner for Tibetan climate and social justice. Here is his story:
S: Why have you come today?
D: I came to join the Global Climate Strike and I’m trying to create awareness about my own homeland, Tibet. Tibet is known as the 3rd pole. We have 2 poles we know of and Tibet is the ‘3rd pole’. Tibet is the highest plateau in the world and holds the largest freshwater reservoir in Asia. The climate effect is happening faster in Tibet than the north and south poles.
D: Glaciers are melting, more than 1.4 billion people in Asia rely on the rivers of Tibet, so it’s affecting them.
S: What do you think of governments are doing about it? They’re making all of these weak commitments but 2050… it feels too late for me.
D: It’s not too late, at least the younger generations are doing something the leaders should have done a long time ago, but they missed it. But it’s ok, we now have a generation who belongs to the 21st century, they have the power. Within 30 years, they’ll be the new leaders- that’s a really hopeful sign.
As Cop25cl comes to an end, many young people express anger and frustration over its outcomes. But we must remain optimistic! Nick Fitzpatrick:
"Sat bewildered in my FlixBus seat at the start of a two-day journey back to Sweden, I attempted to gather my thoughts on the latest dismal attempt to slow down civilisation from heading towards the cliff. Was the ninety hour return bus really worth it?
This was my third COP, and despite a hectic schedule of events, I left Madrid more convinced that indigenous peoples and youths call for action are falling on deaf ears. They definitely heard us (and kicked us out) but still emissions continue to rise. That’s of course unless you double count reductions, use Kyoto credits and play with dodgy carbon markets to inequitably solve the climate dilemma. Sorry but when has the ‘market’ ever been equitable for all? But at least now countries will be able to access loss and damage finance under the Green Climate Fund…if only it didn’t take almost a year to get money from it. Imagine trying to rebuild your only hours that was destroyed and being told you have to wait 365 days? Surely we can do better than this...
Despite the fluffy bottom-up nature of the Paris Agreement, it was clear this time is our last chance to address humans ever-increasing impact on the planet. At a time when economic growth is still unquestionable and CO2 emissions have grown more than 65% since the formation of the UNFCCC process it is clear as day that we are nowhere near ready to tackle this problem together.
It’s obvious we need to try our hand at transformative action elsewhere…don’t give up! Let’s begin practicing a truly sustainable post-growth future."
At Cop25cl we spoke with a delegation of indigenous Ecuadorian people and we asked them about indigenous representation in this year's climate negotiations:
"First of all, indigenous rights should be acknowledged and respected. What the United Nations need to do is support the existing initiatives by indigenous people on the frontlines around the world. We are tired of our governments ignoring us. With fires in Brazil, Asia, Africa, North America this is a crucial year. We need to fight for respect" ✊🌳
📷: Agisilaos Koulouris
At Cop25cl we met with Icelandic environmental advocate Aðalbjörg Egilsdóttir, who shares with us how Iceland is not as environmentally friendly as people would like to think... 🇮🇸
"I have been doing all that I can but I still don’t feel like it is enough. I have been striking, calling for more action inside my university, working on climate education, but I feel like I’m not being heard. The Icelandic government says that they’re listening but they’re not showing it.
We actually asked our government to declare a climate emergency. We met with a few ministers with our demands and also an action plan. They refused. When they’re on international platforms, like here on COP25, they talk about how great they are and how much they’ve done, but we change our heating and electricity to renewables decades ago and barely anything has happened since. We’re just constantly increasing our carbon footprint and if you look at our international carbon footprint it’s the third highest in the world. And it’s like they don’t realize that we need more action, we need them to take this seriously and do what needs to be done. We have presented them with ideas and demands. The only thing they need to do is act on it.
Even though I don’t feel like I’m being heard, I have to keep going, and I will. I will be vocal here at #cop25, I will be vocal at the climate strikes when I come back home, at work and at the university. I just hope that they will actually start to listen soon."
Reporting from Cop25cl, Australia is gathering a very bad reputation for its climate record. As fires are raging in the country, Maike Puracal shares her experiences 🔥:
"This is the new normal and I'm scared"
"Australia is experiencing its worst bushfire season on record, and it’s not even peak summer yet. Gross land and water mismanagement and a hotter and drier climate has cause the most horrific annihilation of world heritage bush land, as well as its wildlife and people’s homes and lives. Over 1.5 million hectares have already been completely destroyed, including world heritage Gondwana rainforest in the north of New South Wales, the oldest rainforest in the world. Sub-tropical rainforest areas which have always been too wet to burn have been razed to the ground. We thought we were safe in Sydney, but the city has been choked by smoke for over a month now as the outer suburbs burn. A lack of wind has left a relentless smoke haze across the city, affecting our health and obstructing the sky with an orange glow.
The Morrison government’s response to this ongoing tragedy was to encourage families who have lost their homes to get excited for the upcoming season of cricket. The only real action so far has been a $48 million dollar recovery pledge to affected farmers, which farmers described as a “drop in the bucket”. Nothing about cutting emissions, nothing about protecting the landscape and wildlife. The summer is only going to get hotter and already this year more records than ever have been broken for high temperatures and low rainfall, but the people in power continue to deny climate change and line their pockets with big coal companies.
This morning I went to collect my washing from the backyard and found it covered in a film of ash. The morning news warned the smoke won’t ease anytime soon and to avoid exercising outdoors. Growing up we always joked we’d eventually have to all move south when climate change makes Sydney too hot, but scientists are warning that already this summer we’ll be reaching 50 degrees if nothing drastic is done. This is the new normal and I’m scared.
As the Cop25cl continues in Madrid, we highlight more stories of people who are taking on the most urgent socio-environmental struggles back in Chile.
"“I have been living in Chile for almost three years and never expected to see protests like we have seen for the past six weeks. I was actually out of the country when they started and it’s illegal for foreigners to participate. In the wake of the COP25 being moved to Spain, six local environmental organizations got together last weekend to clean the river that runs through Santiago, the Mapocho - which is a form of protest that foreigners CAN participate in!
The movement was called #mapochorioabajo. I am thrilled to see Chilean activists at the COP25 speaking up about the environmental implications of the socioeconomic inequalities in Chile. The sign on the bridge reads ‘Chile sacrifices the environment and communities for industrial development. The social crisis is also environmental.’ The cleanup was very tough and eye-opening. We found mattresses, broken bottles, escooters, and even dead animals. It is clear that the city is not paying enough attention to its waterways. As one of the longest coastlines in the world, Chile has a responsibility to take care of its water!”
Solidarity and power to the people of Chile! 🌍✊
Our team is currently at Cop25cl, where representatives of all Governments have gathered to finalize negotiations on the Paris Agreement. The Conference would initially be hosted by Chile, but due to weeks of social unrest, Spain stepped in to host the event instead. One of our followers urged us to highlight the deep-rooted social (and environmental) injustices that the Chilean Government is inflicting on its people.
"I would like you guys to keep us in mind because part of what people are asking the government of Chile is about the climate. The main topic however, is a new society where we respect each other and that also includes taking care of the environment."
The Climate Collective Team has always firmly believed that the social and environmental crises that our world is facing are inextricably linked and should always be viewed in that way. We stand in solidarity with all people fighting for a more equitable and environmentally just world. ✊🌍
We spoke to Mr. Austin, a macaw, at the Global Climate Strike. He’s hear because global warming is destroying his homeland, the rainforest.
He believes in Fridays for Future
We spoke with Marc Delalonde, who is a cultural manager and a current fellow at START - Create Cultural Change:
"I was studying ancient history when my "awakening" happened. Hearing about the ecological crisis, I started to watch documentaries, to read reports and articles, and to change many things in my life, beginning with cutting meat out of my diet. When offered with a PhD to continue my research, something I had been dreaming of for years, I suddenly felt it wasn't right. I could not hide anymore and live my life like I didn't know what was happening to nature.
I chose to start over, to work for change through culture and art. Why? Because these are tools we can use to deconstruct the social and cultural representations upon which our (capitalist) society is based, which sees nature and culture as opposite concepts. If we are to put a stop to the ongoing ecological disaster, we have to understand that we, as humans, are part of nature. It is essential to (re)connect to the Earth. We need a natureculture!
It's time to change the narrative wrongly coined as the "Anthropocene", which tells a story of failure and irreversible collapse. We cannot protect something we don't care for, and we cannot care for something we don't love and respect. This is where art can be a powerful agent of change, because it generates emotions.
Art should be a tool used to tell a different story, a story of hope and symbiosis (“living together”) between humans and the rest of the natural world. This is what I am working on at the moment for my next project in Greece, which will hopefully come to life soon!"
Project link: https://www.startgreece.net/fellows/marc-delalonde
Photo credits: Emmanouela Kyriakopoulou and Johanna Ochner
Photo descriptions: 2.Project Symbio(s)Art in Hamburg, Germany (21-31 October 2019) in the frame of @START – Create Cultural Change. Autumn is when hedgehogs prepare for hibernation. Children learned about the needs of hedgehogs and built a small house for them to be safe/warm during winter.
3. They also learned about the animal's life and ecosystem through painting. ©Johanna Ochner
4. Meanwhile, a group of adults of all ages wandered through the park and wrote down what they could see, hear, smell, touch, as well as emotions they experienced. ©Johanna Ochner
5. Feeling inspired, they wrote an excerpt of their "Sumbiography": the story of their life from the perspective of nature! ©Johanna Ochner
Sunday night thoughts from Andrea TruHi of the band, Me and The Monster:
"I live in Berlin, and the 21st of September I was one of the thousands of people who took part of the global climate strike.
The strike was called at 12pm in Brandenburger Tor. I arranged to meet with two friends at 11am to have some time to get there with enough space to walk... how naive of us!
When the train I was supposed to jump on arrived, I was shocked. It was physically impossible to get in, so I waited for the next one.
When this one arrived, there were the same views: a train filled with kids of all ages and sizes, most of them with a self-made banner about the climate crisis.
My eyes watered as I flashed back to COP21 in Paris, where my family and I got so worried about the lack of youth fighting for their own future.
Yes, things are changing. We are waking up.
Once in Potsdamer Platz (one station away from Brandenburger Tor; only a ten minute walk from one another) you could see the crowds forming. You could feel the excitement of the moment in the people's faces.
As the speakers blasting music approached, the people gathered around them to sing along and raise their banners.
The weather was perfect to take the streets.
At twelve o'clock, everything that the eye could cover around Brandenburger Tor was packed with people.
Youth. Youth everywhere.
After speeches of several activists and different musical acts, the mobilization started. A river of humans began to move through the center of Berlin.
It was sometimes hard to see further in front because of the huge amount of banners. I had the feeling almost everyone there had one; of so many different shapes and colours, with different messages but all of them saying the same: IT'S TIME FOR CHANGE.
Powerful poem by published swedish-somalian activist-poet Mona Monasar
Check out her recently published book: https://www.nok.se/titlar/allmanlitteratur-barn-och-ungdom/modersmal/?fbclid=IwAR2k5rVWA_6cQdpV7AnPFxOV4PV36XkDunjkPOto7im7vcgRDqw1ytwbFmM
I press down my fingers into the soil
Praying that they will take hold
that they will take root
But my fingers only go numb
and the earth strikes back
asking us to strike back
start over, redo
maybe do a little more right this time
and we try
we try stubbornly
which makes me think of the metaphor of dandelions and how they can grow through asphalt
and that is telling us that the fight is not over
and how we can all do a little more
and a little better
I'm thinking of Förbifart Stockholm
and about how the importance of the local environment can be forgotten
when it comes to some
the forgotten parts of the city
and how the environment is a part of us all
but still, nature and the environment are such a remote thing for some
How things like walking in the woods are free can be said
without a broader perspective
I think about how I am struggling to write a poem about the environment and nature
when it has been present throughout my life
but still feel that it is not personal enough
a little too distant
When I think of the environment, I often think of everything we have done wrong
or rather everything that has been done wrong and which we now must clean up
what mother earth would say if she could speak with her words
she takes my mother's form in front of me
and I see my mother's disappointed face
how she shakes her head slowly and turns her back on
I think of the poet Warsan Shire
and her poem
“later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
where does it hurt?
Jag trycker ner mina fingrar i jorden
Ber att de ska ta fäste
Göra sig hemma
Men mina fingrar domnar bara bort
jorden slår tillbaka
ber oss att slå tillbaka
kanske göra lite mera rätt denna gång
och vi försöker
vi försöker envist
vilket får mig att tänka på den uttjatade metaforen om maskroser och hur de kan växa genom asfalt
och att det liknas med att kampen inte är över
och hur vi alla kan göra lite mer
och lite bättre
vilket får mig bara att tänka på hur vi alla är som en fröställning på maskrosen
instabilt och endast lyckats hålla oss kvar av ren tur
jag tänker på förbifart Stockholm
och om hur vikten av närmiljön kan glömmas bort
när det kommer till vissa
det förbisedda stockholm
och på hur miljön är en del av oss alla
men ändå så är naturen och miljön en så avlägsen grej för vissa
hur saker som att gå i skogen är gratis kan sägas
utan ett bredare perspektiv
sen tänker jag på hur jag kan kämpa med att skriva en dikt om miljön och naturen
när den varit närvarande i hela mitt liv
men ändå känna att det inte är så personligt
lite för distanserat
när jag tänker på miljön tänker jag ofta på allt vi gjort fel
eller snarare allt som gjorts fel och som vi nu måste städa upp
be om ursäkt för
och att veta att detta är en fråga som alltid får komma i efterhand
lite som en baktanke
och jag föreställer mig bara
vad moder jord skulle säga om hon med sina ord kunde tala
hon tar min mors form framför mig
och jag ser min mammas besvikna min
hur hon skakar på huvudet långsamt och vänder mig ryggen
jag tänker på Warsan Shire
och hennes dikt
som går såhär
”sent den kvällen höll jag en världskarta i min hand
drog fingret längs med hela
vart gör det ont
What's your story?
Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theclimatecollective/?hl=en
We are happy to feature the director of Greenpeace Greece, Nikos Charalambides weighing in on the latest wave of peaceful environmental civil disobedience sweeping across the world:
"This is time unusual. Clock is ticking and global temperature is rising. No way can we continue negotiating and arguing if this is 99.5% sure or 100% certain. If there is something more certain that is we cannot achieve the change needed by following the patterns that lead us here by listening to the same players, following the same processes, serving the same system. That is why people are taking the streets. It started with Greta then Fridays for future then Extinction Rebellion and hopefully, there will be more. The necessary changes we need to go through to protect life on earth from the climate crisis are simply huge. There is no time to waste. We have less than 0,5 degrees Celsius and 12 years. The time for change is now."
Some Wednesday wisdom from Emma McKeagney:
‘Right now I am definitely not where I want to be in terms of my engagement with the amazing wave of climate activists and movements. I can’t really consider myself an activist. I look on at the current movement in awe! So happy that the conversation is finally this loud and making change. But I have to pay rent, I moved to a city far away from home in the hopes of succeeding I guess but realised since being here that any notion of personal success is so tied up and implicated by capitalism that I’m not really thriving for the same notion of success I was a year ago.
So right now I am making plans, plans to change my life and to try and become less trapped by my daily actions and the larger harmful system of working too much and engaging less in the earth and what it means to be human here. I want to grow food, to have time to do so, to need to travel less and to live somewhere I can engage in. But I still need the money to do all these things right now and I would be full of shit to say that it’s easy for everyone to make drastic changes in their lives to disconnect from capitalism as much as we need to. I still have all the desires I was raised to have. I want to ‘be successful’, to travel and see the world, to have kids, to own a home and a car- but now I’m seeing these things as more problematic than ever. Now for me it’s about finding the right time and way to create a more sustainable life. It takes time and a lot of planning.
This movement has completely changed my idea of what I want for my life, and has made me realise that the only way to be truly sustainable and to disengage from capitalism is to accept a smaller life, possibly away from any city you have ever thought was cool or where you want to be. We have to accept as young people that if we really want to change things we can’t want what the generations before us wanted, we need to thrive for humbler and quieter lives, making collectives and networks successful rather than personal success be your goal.’
Γιώργος Περρ reflects on his experience from the global climate strike in Athens, Greece:
"I don't know how we'll explain to the kids of tomorrow that Greek people care more about a name change for North Macedonia than they do for climate change and the environment. I don't know how will we look them in the eyes and tell them that the problems they're facing today are a result of our inaction. It's shameful and unjust. There was only a few of us in the climate march in Athens. Only a few compared to how many we should have been. But the energy was electrifying.
I hope that day by day, those who protest also:
- reduce plastic
- recycle (yes, there are people who still stubbornly refuse to do so)
- will vote governments with a strong environmental agenda
- will use their money to support env. NGOs, instead of fuelling mindless consumption (be it cool clothes, or meat)
- will join grassroots movements to demand systemic change
And I hope that those numbers will go up day by day.
We can all change. I was ignorant a year ago on environmental issues. We can all contribute, even with small actions. Additively, everything counts!"
The #climatestrikes continue, but Fox of Wilderlost Media reminds us of the importance of Extinction Rebellion running in parallel:
"I'm proud to stand with the Youth Strikers for the 4th time. The climate movement is growing crazy fast. Millions were mobilised across the world. The energy of the young people leading this incredible movement has inspired me. I'm so relieved to see more adults joining them this time. I hope that those who turned out in force will continue their commitment to strike until the 27th.
But the Strikers are not alone. From October 7th, the Rebels take the baton. We're fewer in number than the Strikers, but we're prepared and determined to go to great lengths to leverage government action.
Using non-violent direct action and civil disobedience as our crowbar to crack open the door to a better future, we'll be shutting down big cities around the world, causing economic disruption with artistic and creative actions for over two weeks.
We need #EverybodyNow to join us for Worldwide Rebellion: Continues October 7th 2019 from October 7th. This is the most important month of your life. Book two weeks or more off work, get involved with your local or national XR group, and hit the streets.
The youth have started this autumn's uprising with a lightning Strike to wake us. Now it's time to rise up and Rebel. These are the moments you'll tell your children about. I'll see you on the streets."
Happy Monday! The climate week is still on. Many young people weren't able to join the #climatestrikes, but still show their support through messages of solidarity. Like Sicily Fiennes, our co-founder and avid sea-turtle conservationist 🐢🌞:
"So, we're out here volunteering at a sea turtle conservation project in Greece - though this is just one population of a species that's recovering and doing well. Over 200 species are going extinct PER DAY and today we're fighting for them especially. Your actions contribute to the collaborative effort which we're seeing across the planet. BUT We can and need to do more"
Next big strike: 27th of September
We continue our #climatestrike feature with Anastasia Spanou, a university student from Athens:
"Humanity's going through an environmental crisis. A crisis which people are trying to come out from by searching for (and finding) alternative sources of energy, like only this is enough to save our planet. Nobody says: "Consume less". They all say" Consume differently". But the truth is, environmentally friendly methods of producing aren't alone the solution. We need to realise the huge impact of capitalism to our planet and change our thinking."
Next big strike: 27th of September
As the global climate strikes are under way, Christina Christoforou Livani shares her thoughts on why she's striking:
"Today, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, or as we say in Greece the glass is beyond full. today, the people ARE STRIKING, youth all over the world have been striking for so long, the "much promising" UN climate talks are under way.
My friends and I have changed our daily habits, turning Vegan, stop using plastic, eliminating the use of cars or airplanes. We do our best. But is that enough?
Obviously, not. Like in the case of the economy, the 1% of us own as much wealth as the 99% rest. Allow me to accuse that 1% of being proportionally responsible for all the challenges and the damages of our world.
Globalized capitalism. Liberal globalized capitalism. Remember this and start repeating it.
Oh god (if you exist, however you want to be called), the Amazon is burning. People are drowning in Mediterranean sea. The land is getting dry. People are fighting against bombs. Countries produce nuclear weapons (for security reasons they say to us-really?really?). They build walls between us. They make wars and put us fight on the field. They make the laws and what is moral and what’s not, but THEY are the first ones to violate the laws. They call a human being a refuge. They normalize the fact that someone lives in a camp or on the street. They insist on polluting our environment and the sea I swim. They even claim that my sea belongs to them and they want to mine oil from it. They put fire in my land and then sell it to rich ones, then after, they build hotels, casinos, banks…
Oh my god, they see me as a soulless source of money. As a dead part of their machine. They want me work, they want my mind sick and my body broken. The want to sell and buy me, my life, my home. I say no. I am not yet as useless and destroyed as they want. I am alive. I have feelings. I feel anger. But I also feel the love. I still see the sun. I taste the water as I taste the kiss of other lips. I smile at the colours of the sounds of other cultures. I sing like a bird. I dream staring at the sky. I am gentle with all the beings, and the mother Earth the most.
I‘ve been an atheist for so long, but today I feel weak, I feel frustrated, and so I recall GOD, as if this is a power and a light that exists in each and every one of us. I recall god as if this is the SOLIDARITY and the RESPECT among people and mother Earth, that are the values to lead us all together to build another better world!
Music for the environment! Greek producer NickP. made a video with footage of climate-related disasters from all over the world:
"Watching what is happening all these years on earth, as a composer I tried to take some videos from news around the world and match them with my music. It's maybe sad, but it makes you feel, it makes you think and I hope it will inspire you to change and act about mother earth. I did this video because I felt an energy while I was making the music and I wanted to share that with other people, I wanted to awake them so all together we can act and make some efficient changes. We need to stop what is happening by changing people's minds. By showing them what is really happening. It's in our hands to do it. Let's act, let's share this message and this music that touches our souls."
Ali Simmonds is going hiking to fundraise for Cool Earth!
"The indigenous people of the global rainforest deserve to live without having to burn their homes and transform them into production lines for Western meat demands, similarly, the immense biodiversity of the rainforest needs to be protected.
In the past 40 years, half of global forests have disappeared. Nation States pledge this and that but ultimately we’re heading on a clear trajectory. NGOs, charities and grassroots initiatives such as Cool Earth, have been considered the most effective means of protecting these communities and mitigating the catastrophic effects of deforestation on the global ecology by the Effective Altruism community and David Attenborough.
Cool Earth work with 118 villages around the world to protect some 230 million tonnes of CO2 by giving the locals access to long term economic alternatives to destroying the forest - education, sustainable fishing, cash crops like coffee etc. This solves the problem of western patronization of the locals (i.e. you can’t do to your land what we did to ours - destroy the biodiversity and forests) while giving the most effective stewards of such lands (the locals) the tools to defend their livelihood from illegal (or legal) logging operations.
One final note on political action: it’s good practice to advocate for groups that one isn’t a part of, since it expands one’s sense of solidarity, to that end - I’m trying to direct some of the Haemophilia lobby’s influence towards climate change via my fundraiser for Cool Earth - since it isn’t everyday that those with bleeding disorders walk around volcanos.
Bringing you some Wednesday positivity from Samir Dallali:
‘’People suck, they are destroying the planet’’, ‘’Every day species are going extinct because of humans’, ‘’Big industry is destroying the planet. ’’
Sayings like this are quite prevalent these days, humans are seen as a disease, slowly destroying the planet until there is nothing left. But in my opinion we should reconsider how we think about the human species in this day and age.
The past few years I’ve been struggling with the fact that people have totally dissociated themselves from nature. Every time I would have a discussion with someone about what nature is I would always struggle to avoid conflict, there seems to be no reasoning with even my very reasonable classmates.
But the reality is humans are not all that bad. Yes we are the main source of climate change and we are depleting all our natural resources, but could we really blame ourselves? We've been doing what we were determined to do from the beginning.
A lot of aspects of humanity today could be traced back to how we evolved. Surviving is not at all that easy but we are really good at it. And I would say the main reason for that is that we will do anything to prosper. Like for example when we found oil we didn’t think of all the negatives thing that could happen if we would base our whole society around it, we just made awesome stuff with it, that fulfilled our evolutionary needs. Could you really blame anyone for that?
The fact is that what we've done so far as a species is incredible, the question just is can we sustain this. Honesty I think that humans are smart enough to find a way, I mean that's what we do and what we've always done. Will we preserve all our beloved species and landscapes? Probably not. But we shouldn't be sad because life as we know it will most likely end rather soon, but be happy that we could be alive during this amazing time.
**Good Afternoon, TCC Community! With everything happening in the Amazon Region lately, our team member Myrtó Walnut has created a guide so that you can fight off those 'powerlessness blues' and try help the Rainforest!**
The Amazon is in flames. Most of us found out through our social media accounts, but in the past few weeks there has been huge response both by local as well as by international NGOs and environmental groups to help reverse the damage done. In the following passage we have tried to summarise what is happening and provide ways with which you can do your own bit in helping the Amazon. This is our chance to come together as a community and help in any way we can!
What is happening?
The Amazon rainforest is the largest in the world and a major component in climate stability and the battle against climate change. Importantly, it is also home to roughly 1 million indigenous people.
Natural fires are rare in the Amazon region due to it humid and tropical climate. The fires raging currently in the region are the result of attempts by farmers to clear the land and expand agriculture and farming. Even though everyone’s mind currently is on the fires, we must not forget that systematic deforestation of the Amazon rainforest has been happening for decades now and is the result of illegal logging, mining, wildlife poaching, and urban development.
What Can I Do?
You can, of course, circulate your hashtaged outrage on social media platforms. But if you want to take it a step further and join the fight against climate change here’s a few things you can do:
1. Donate to WWF’s Amazon Emergency Appeal (https://support.wwf.org.uk/donate-amazon?_ga=2.228922524.1678057568.1566822045-1429600792.1566822045). Your money will be channelled towards:
• Supporting local needs for medical support, fire
fighter training and security
• Campaigning for stronger action from the
2. I would also urge you to donate to the Rainforest Trust’s fundraiser to save Peruvian indigenous lands (https://www.rainforesttrust.org/projects/final-push-to-protect-indigenous-lands-in-the-peruvian-amazon/)
3. Sign one of the numerous petitions going round demanding governmental action to stop the fires
• WWF’s Amazon Emergency Petition (https://www.wwf.org.uk/save-
• Petition to the UK and the EU to sanction Brazil into action
• Rainforest Rescue Petition (https://www.rainforest-rescue.org/petitions/1110/stop-the-assault-on-earths-green-lung)
4. Learn to eat sustainably
• Ration your meat consumption. Avoid eating meat
• K N O W what you are eating: Read food labels and
choose products approved by Fairtrade
farmers and workers in developing countries),
Freedom Food (animal welfare), MSC and ASC
(seafood), and RSPO (palm oil)
• Avoid food waste and overconsumption
5. Plant a tree at home. Yes, you read correctly! Over the next 10 years, the Woodland Trust aims to plant 64m trees. Especially for countries plagued by forest arsons or by wildfires, like Greece, planting trees locally and joining reforestation groups can be vital in the relief of the region.
6. Support and keep up with indigenous organisations. A good directory to find those is provided by the Coordinator of the Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) at http://coica.org.ec/que-es-la-coica/
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