So many of us are worried about the health of our Earth. The rapid and the devastating loss of the Amazon, one of the planet’s largest carbon sinks and a nucleus of biodiversity, seems the most eminent of wake-up-calls. It can feel so out of reach and we can feel so helpless, literally watching the Amazon burn from thousands of miles away. And also, it can be easy to ignore what’s happening and go on with our daily lives. Arguably, we may not be able to ignore it much longer. According to Nasa, “97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree*: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities,” so let’s put that argument aside. We need to help the Amazon, and we need to help our Earth.
I strongly believe that the first step to healing the Earth and humankind is to come back into relationship with our planet and reawaken immense gratitude for this place that sustains us.
But, like a friend said recently, we also need to take ACTION. I’m talking action both for the Amazon and action for our Earth as a whole. What can we do as individuals?
One of the easiest things we can do right now is to fund organizations that are working on relief efforts and reforestation. Personally I don’t think it’s going to be high-tech technology that will save us; I think it will be trees.
Two of my favorite organizations that are planting large numbers of trees are treesisters.org and onetreeplanted.org. Let’s get these organizations funded and re-robe our planet in green! Personally I feel, with so much at stake, it’s the least we can do. In terms of the Amazon, Amazon Watch is another very important organization that works with indigenous communities to stop the destruction and defend their rights and home.
If you have land, you can also plant a tree, or many trees. I think that’s a great initiative because trees are beneficial nearly anywhere, but also there may be more of an impact by funding the organizations that plant large amounts of native trees at once in areas where it counts the most, like the tropics. If you can do both, do both.
Rethink Our Consumption
And… not ignoring the elephant in the room, we should all take a serious look at our consumption and reduce our use of fossil fuel.
Most of us in developed nations have immense privilege, and we could be doing so much better with our choices. Consuming less would be very beneficial to our planet, but when we do consume, shopping at small and local business will have a great impact. We can do better to recognize and remind ourselves that every choice we make has an impact on someone (human and non-human alike) down the line.
How much of our consumption can we reduce or shift to buy local? Most of the land being cleared in the Amazon is being cleared for Soy, Palm Oil, and Cattle. If we shopped local for the majority of our food, we would greatly reduce the need to deforest the Amazon. If you can reduce your beef consumption that’s wonderful (most of us Americans can greatly reduce our consumption here), and it’s also reasonably easy to find local ranchers or farms in many locals from which to purchase grassfed beef. Some ranchers are even switching to methods of ranching that mimics the natural influence of buffalo on the precious, prairie ecosystem, thereby restoring habitat. We can help encourage this shift by purchasing from them and voting with our dollar.
Amazon Action Day
September 5th is International Day of Action for the Amazon. Let’s participate. Find more info here.
Demand Corporate Accountability
Call out corporations like WalMart and CostCo, two of the worst offenders when it comes to selling products that contribute to deforestation.
While you are at it, sign this petition to ask BlackRock to stop funding Amazon deforestation: https://desktopactivisttucson.blogspot.com/2019/08/tell-blackrock-stop-financing.html?spref=fb&m=1
If you have investments or banking with Chase of HSBC, consider divesting with them and explain to them why you do not support their choices. They are some of the largest financiers of deforestation in the Amazon. Also, read this important article for more information.
When it comes to climate change, another low tech climate solution that may be out of reach for the average homeowner but is still definitely possible for landowners, farms, businesses and municipalities is to invest in biochar technology. https://biochar-international.org/open-source-biochar-technologies/ “Biochar is produced through pyrolysis or gasification — processes that heat biomass in the absence (or under reduction) of oxygen. The carbon in biochar resists degradation and can hold carbon in soils for hundreds to thousands of years. Biochar and bioenergy co-production can help combat global climate change by displacing fossil fuel use and by sequestering carbon in stable soil carbon pools.”
Of course, this only touches on the surface of a very complex issue involving human rights, politics, privilege, capitalism, patriarchy, and more. I am in no way claiming to be innocent of actions which lead to harm for this planet, and it would be hard to find anyone in the Western world who is absent of responsibility on some level. I am, however, working on continuously doing better in this culture which produces many roadblocks to truly living a no-harm lifestyle. We may not be able to completely rid ourselves of harmful impact in this lifetime, but we can certainly use the resources we do have in ways that better benefit the Earth and commit to changing our actions as much as possible.
I’d love for this to be a dialogue. Do you have action items to add to the list? Please comment with your suggestions.