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An aerial image of a sunrise over tropical rainforest in Cambodia.

Moments that fuelled radical climate optimism in 2021

Welcome to issue 1 of The Bright Side.

The Bright Side - Radical Climate Optimism

A quarterly blog with a purpose to inspire radical, climate optimism in people all over the world.

How? With stories of action direct from the world’s most important, Earth cooling, carbon-sink rainforests. Action that our supporters fund with cash.

Here, we focus on the bright side of rainforest conservation.

Start this year as you mean to go on. Inspired, charged and ready to do whatever you can to fight the climate crisis. These stories will do just that. Stories that wouldn’t have started without our supporters and people like you that care.

Get climate optimistic now.

Radical Climate Optimism - Aerial rainforest image with white text overlay reading 'there is massive consensus on what to do about the climate crisis'

The People’s Climate Vote surveyed over 600,000 people in some of the most powerful and wealthy countries on Earth (the G20). The purpose? To gauge public opinion on the climate crisis. The results pack a punch.

It’s clear to us that we live in a time where more people on Earth than ever before understand, comprehend and crucially know what to do about the climate crisis.

Out of 14 different climate policies protecting forest and land came out top. It’s almost as if huge swathes of people surveyed were well aware of the carbon-capturing potential rainforest has to cool the planet. And it’s not just adults that know, young people, the future generations leading the climate action movement value rainforest too.

Radical Climate Optimism - Close up of forest fire with white text overlay reading 'you helped tackle the most important fires in the world'

The Amazon. The biggest tropical rainforest biome on Earth is experiencing more and more climate-induced wildfires each year. This results in more carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere that heats our planet to dangerous levels. Shockingly, out of 778 Amazon municipalities, only 110 have fire services.

The need for support is great and you answered the call.

An ambitious fire prevention project is underway led by indigenous-led organisation Central Asháninka del Río Ene (CARE) and fuelled by your cash. It aims to stop wildfires before they even start. Community-based (we wouldn’t have it any other way), it enables people to adapt to a changing climate, protecting lives, livelihoods and the Earth-cooling carbon stored in rainforest.

Climate change means fire season starts earlier every year. We’ll be in touch with our latest campaigns soon, so you can continue to help fight the climate crisis.


Depending on who you talk to, the world’s most important climate conference, COP26, can elicit moans, groans and complex opinions. We on the other hand let the money promised do the talking in the right place; rainforest.

At COP26 in November 2021, 100 countries pledged $19.2 billion to stop, and most importantly reverse tropical rainforest deforestation. An act that could seriously improve our chances of cooling the planet. It’s what we’ve championed for over 15 years and now, finally, world leaders are seeing the value of rainforest; and not just when it’s on the back of a flatbed truck.

This money must, and we repeat must, be given to indigenous and local people to truly make a difference. This is the basis of our work; getting your cash in the hands of people who protect rainforest.


Most of us take light, electricity, for granted. That simple on/off switch extends not just our lives but the life of carbon-capturing forest. Villages around the Bakossi National Park and Bangyan-Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary in Western Cameroon have until recently had little alternative but to cut down and burn wood to provide light. Light to prepare meals and to work and learn by.

Your cash has helped fund five solar farms. Working together with the Centre for Community Regeneration and Development (CCREAD) this has brought light and electricity to schools, medical centres and over 1,000 homes.

“There is no way we would have thought that someday, people in this community will have electricity because we have been abandoned for years.”

 

– A community member, Kupe Muanenguba Division of Cameroon

 

This means the pressure is released, benefiting people (who are best able to protect rainforest) and the rainforest itself. Win, win.

Radical Climate Optimism - Maria, Ashaninka chief and cacao grower

Indigenous people have always had to fight to be heard. People, who by the very nature of living in rainforest together with knowledge and experience, are crucial in the fight to undo rising global temperatures.

Voices from marginalised communities were given some airtime during the biggest (and most important) climate conference in history, COP26. Whilst it’s a start, it’s not enough.

As Fiji’s Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama put it,

“We Pacific nations have not travelled to the other end of the world to watch our future to be sacrificed at the altar of appeasement of the world’s worst emitters.”

We hope indigenous people are given the platform and power needed to make decisions about the land that is rightfully theirs.


This is a not-so-gentle reminder that you have power. We all do.

In 2021 we saw so many people use their power to do good in the world. From Climate Princess Aleesha to Callan and Campbell walking the mountains of California, to our own trustee Johan Rockström relaying the fact that “it is never too late”, Cool Earth supporters took positive climate action in their thousands.

Inspired by your climate action we launched our Time for Action campaign and raised funds to fuel more rainforest protection. More radical optimism inspiring work on the frontline of the climate crisis, that has the potential to get us out of the red and into the green.

“Nothing will be saved without you.”
– Yrsa Daley-Ward

 

There is no time like the present, so let’s get going and keep the radical climate optimism up. Here’s to 2022 and beyond.