Do you remember Earth Day last year?
The pristine waters in Venice?
Wild boars in Berlin?
Nature reclaiming space, rejuvenating, healing in the wake of global lockdowns. It seemed as if our environment benefitted hugely from a lack of lockdown induced human interference didn’t it? This is not the truth but rather a dangerous supposition.
Humans have lived in harmony with nature, tending it, shaping it in a way that respects it wholly for over 12,000 years. Indigenous people have had perfect equilibrium with the environment until the environment began to change. Dramatically change. And when the climate shifts everything shifts. For many people living in rainforest their carbon capturing trees become lifelines, they are lifelines for the loggers too. They might be sold off in desperation for food or medicine, a direct result of climate change and climate induced poverty. Where are the policies to protect people and planet? We’d like to know too.
It hasn’t always been like this. Rainforest communities, the true climate experts, prove we can have a symbiotic relationship with the world we live in. And right now, nature needs people just as much as people need nature. We don’t need to lock ourselves away, to leave nature alone. We need to nurture it. To restore the balance through action, work, lobbying and supporting those best equipped to protect it.
We all saw the images of nature “bouncing back” in the absence of human activity; not to doubt nature’s resilience but this wasn’t the full picture. We must acknowledge that highlighting a world without humans is a dangerous one. The truth is people are both the cause but the solution to the climate crisis. Rainforest communities have the expertise, experience and together we can undo what has been done – to climate, environment and people. Why is this not happening faster? What’s missing is the money to do so, the means to invest in the people who can keep trees standing and protect great swathes of forest to continue the absorption of carbon and lock it in.
Celebrating the images of a healing world was short lived. Soon came the necessary wheels of production and the emissions. This time round, as things in the West at least return to a semblance of normal, what are we to change? What are we to choose as individuals, as communities, as countries?
What can you do?
This Earth Day we didn’t talk about trees, or the environment. We spoke about choices. The choices we all have. The way we can frame the climate crisis in a way that spurs action not apathy. We all need to challenge ourselves, challenge our beliefs and reinforce the action we are all taking to fight climate change.
Choices. Whether you are cycling to work, sipping fair trade coffee from a reusable cup or dedicating your life to fighting deforestation; we can all make a positive difference. Giving cash to rainforest communities to protect their rainforest, and raising the voices of the marginalised is an action that reaps great results. Every penny, every cent and every shared post and story.
So, donate to our Earth Day campaign, get involved and share your #coolearthchoices with the world and believe that the next time you see nature bouncing back it won’t be because of a lack of people but because of the power of people.