March 7, 2019

Cool Earth | Guess what we’re giving up for Lent?

As a species, we are programmed to run away from scary stuff. Fear is designed to help us run away from the bear. Or just outrun the person beside us. This fear is not what is going to motivate us to save the world.

We can’t run away from deforestation, from carbon emissions and the impacts of extreme weather and climate events. If we do, we would leave those least able to adapt to fend for themselves, with disastrous impacts.

So what do we need to face the bear, together? Start with a vision of a better environmental future.

“The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation.”

- Gus Speth, World Resources Institute

There is already so much to be optimistic about. From more people in green jobs to unprecedented uptake in renewables, from the UK’s reduced emissions to species working their way up the IUCN Endangered Species list, there’s lots to celebrate. That’s why we’re asking you to give up pessimism for Lent.

Negativity and fear have not played a part in these accomplishments. It’s the inner drive and positivity to accomplish and to succeed. It’s from running towards our global problems, with global solutions, that a difference is being made.

Why Cool Earth is optimistic about rainforest and climate change:

Rainforest has the potential to be the world’s greatest safety net for the climate. Not only its role in reducing net carbon emissions, the co-benefits of rainforest protection include biodiversity conservation, watershed protection, soil protection, and resilience to pests and disease.

A UN Emissions Report recently showed that accomplishing zero emissions from deforestation by 2020 is key if we want to achieve the long-term goals of emission reduction. It also proposes necessary steps including using science to guide targets, scaling up existing solutions rapidly, and encouraging optimism. Three things that Cool Earth’s people focussed conservation strategy is all about.

Now is the time to get behind stopping deforestation. Because it doesn’t require any new technology or investment, it can be done right now. By simply keeping trees standing we can prevent billions of tonnes of carbon emissions, and bridge the gap between today and a carbon-neutral future.

It can be done, and we have the answer: people power. Indigenous communities worldwide protect 20% of Earth’s surface and 80% of biodiversity. Local people manage nearly 300 billion metric tons of carbon. They are powerful stakeholders in global and local climate change challenges. But the power of indigenous-led conservation is too often ignored.

Recognising Indigenous peoples rights, building their resilience and empowering them to safeguard their forest will ensure these vital resources and knowledge are protected, for all of us.

“Fundamentally, we need a mind-shift that reconnects our development to the biosphere to ensure good and safe lives for all in the future.”

– Johan Rockstrom


What will you do?

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. Why don’t we give it a go? Find a way to be optimistic every day for the next 40 days. You never know the impact you could have. It might just change someone’s mindset on all things rainforest and environment.


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