Focus on Forests

Focus on Forests

The Amazon Forest, literally the lungs of the planet- responsible for respiring 20% of the world’s oxygen, was on fire most of the summer. Nearly 76,000 fires burned in the Amazonas this year, an increase of 84% from previous years.

Thus, the light of world news has been for the past months on Brazil. And, as fires burn in other countries, like Bolivia, Greenland, Siberia, Greece, Spain, Turkey, France, Russia, and Indonesia, we are in heated discussions about the future management of our world’s forests.

Fires literally in my backyard these past weeks, bring home the climate reality that our communities may inevitably be more susceptible to fires in in the coming years.

Those of us in California living on the urban-wildland interface can now empathize with our Amazonas, Indonesian, European friends in the forest. Homes, businesses, woodlands, coastlines, citrus and avocado groves, vineyards were threatened again these past weeks in the California fires. Most people still remember also the record-breaking, life-threatening, devastating fires in past years.

Yes, Fire is a natural part of these ecosystems; but fires are now burning hotter, longer, and more frequently under our new global warming normal. Coupled with increases in slash-burn agriculture practices; less regulation under present day political regimes; it seems we can expect increases in fire danger, ecosystem loss, and air pollution.

But this future is not determined… and we can be the masters of our own destiny.

According to Frances Seymour, Distinguished Senior Fellow, WRI (World Resources Institute), we can choose to save the patient in the emergency room from bleeding to death. We can protect our intact forests worldwide. We can halt deforestation and reduce slash-burn agriculture. We can invest in restoration. We can convert a percent of our agricultural lands back to forests…. we just need the will to do it!

According to Marcello Behar, Corporate Affairs Officer, Natura; we can value a tree more standing than dead. Natura is the largest cosmetic company in Brazil and they pride themselves on walking the integrated bottom line-people, planet, profit. Embedded in their corporate culture are the values that the value of nature is both economic and ecologic. Natura believes that they and others can run their companies profitably for people and responsibly for nature. Let’s listen in as Marcello shares with us the example of the Acuba tree….

According to Sonia Guajagara, an indigenous activist and politician in Brazil, who offers her wisdom in Portuguese in this interview… The naturally intelligent future path is clear. It’s a mindshift change that is needed.

“We simply need to restore the hearts, decarbonize the colonial minds, and re-forest the souls of all the people in the world”. We need to really respect nature, the integrity of ecosystems, and the ecology of communities. Why?  Because this is Mother Nature, and she is the source of life… our life.


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