Footage of immense fires sweeping through swathes of rainforest has filled our screens in recent weeks.
Collective outrage at some 72,000 forest fires burning between January and August already this year has quite rightly dominated the environmental conversation. That’s double the number recorded in the whole of 2013.
As a result, more people are becoming aware of the impact that humanity is having on the world’s rainforest, and the urgent need to keep them protected.
Rainforest is our global lungs, greatest land store of carbon, and an essential safety net against further climate breakdown. The whole world relies on the millions of trees found there every day. Homes for wildlife, water releasers and oxygen producers, nature has already designed a perfect climate-change-tackling-machine, but they’re being burned in their thousands.
Though the smoke may clear from these Amazon fires and blazing outrage may fade to a simmer, the underlying causes won’t go away on their own.
Those who call the rainforest home have been overlooked when it comes to recent coverage of the Amazon fires. When they have featured, they are often demonised or pitied, instead of giving a platform to their voices, opinions and daily challenges faced. Working with local communities and peoples is being held up time and again as the most effective approach to conservation.
“No one knows the conflicts playing out among food, fuel and forests better than indigenous peoples and local communities. We’re often in the cross-hairs of conflicts over land,
“As experts, often guided by hundreds of years of knowledge,
we are uniquely suited to manage, protect and
restore the world’s forests.”
-Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN special rapporteur
Forests under indigenous management often have lower deforestation levels and emit less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than surrounding areas. It is clear that climate change adaptation decision-making is enhanced and made more effective when those most vulnerable to climate change are involved: indigenous peoples, local communities, women, the poor and marginalised.1
With your support, Cool Earth is addressing the poverty and marginalisation that drives deforestation and slash-and-burn as the only option. Together, we’re offering local people an alternative; sustainable incomes that support the forest, not work against it.
This September, a group of leading media organisations and publications from around the world, have pledged to devote a week of coverage to climate change to coincide with the UN’s crucial upcoming Climate Action Summit.2
How do you plan to add your voice to the conversation and momentum for the climate going? Get in touch if Cool Earth can help you shout your support from the treetops.