More Growth = Collapse

More Growth = Collapse

Welcome to another episode of Scientists Warning TV with co-host Regina Valdez and myself Patrick Lincoln, coming live to you from the UN negotiations COP 25 in Spain, Madrid. Today’s guests: Amy Lewis who is the Vice-president of Policy and Communications for the Wild Foundation And Gert-Peter Bruch and Mindahi Bastida, who are the founding members of the Alliance of Mother Nature’s Guardians. Today’s Program: More growth=Collapse. My name is Amy Lewis,. I’m a social scientist and I’m a conservationist and I work with an international team that is defending the future of humanity by protecting the wildness of, at least, half of Earth’s land and seas by 2030. I’m here today to make an economic case for ambition and for common sense, as these two qualities pertain to our species and its most important relationship – Our Relationship with Nature. I want us to start asking a very urgent question: “How much wild nature do people need to survive, to really survive?” Over the last four decades a scientific consensus has emerged in both contemporary and traditional sciences: one that concludes that the life-support systems of this planet, the living engine that for hundreds of millions of years has produced everything life needs most – oxygen, rainfall , fertile soils – that these systems can only continue to function effectively as long as at least half the Earth’s land and seas are intact. What’s more , is, this consensus concludes that humanity must set aside half of nature in a remarkably narrow time frame – the next 10 years – in order to avert ecological catastrophe on a scale we’ve never before witnessed. The fact is that our best ally in the fight to mitigate climate change, to halt the sixth mass extinction and to stabilize human security is wild nature. What’s more, this consensus that has emerged to talk about this transcends institution, it transcends nationality, in transcends culture. Indigenous leaders in the Bering Sea advocate for this solution as much as evolutionary biology professors in some of the world’s finest universities. And yet, not one single proposal on the table at the UN conventions of climate or biological diversity urge for the protection of half of Earth’s land and seas by 2030. Why is that? Well, the most commonly stated reason is that it’s too ambitious this course of action Setting is keeping half the planet in its natural state in order to save human culture and civilization as we know it Too ambitious some even call it radical Others say it’s politically unfeasible Well as a political scientist, I’m here to say that those excuses are just that – excuses – and I’m here to remind them that excuses are a very mediocre basis for policy decisions. It’s these excuses that are colonizing our future, it’s these excuses that are suffocating our imaginations, and it’s these excuses that are crippling our courage,. And so I would ask now that we reconsider this decision to make our policy decisions on excuses. Our survival does not depend upon the limitations of political feasibility. Our survival is riding upon the expansion of our visions; it’s riding upon the boundlessness of our respect for one another and for the natural world and it’s riding upon the stiffening of our resolve. Earth in its entirety, from the smallest phytoplankton to the largest mammal, is a magnificent life engine. Every component elegantly and unconsciously contributes to a system that has produced a remarkable and utterly rare pocket of habitation in an otherwise uninhabitable Cosmos and we currently have just about 50% of that life-support system intact, not protected but intact. A little less than 27 percent is protected, which means that the half of our remaining life-support system that exists is in jeopardy of being destroyed in the next 20 years,. But for the moment, half of it’s intact. So why is it that half is so important? In fact half isn’t important. It’s not relevant . What we’re really talking about are tipping points . And tipping points are essentially ecological thresholds that, once crossed, cause the collapse of the life support functions of that ecosystem. Some ecosystems are more fragile than others. Their tipping point – their threshold -is 80% : like rainforests. But, on average , most ecosystems across the planet, It seems to come around 50%. That is the tipping point. So in, and that is what keeping those intact is what preserves the nature-based solutions that make life on Earth as we know it possible. And let me clarify here. What I mean by nature- based solution has nothing to do with money. It has nothing to do with capital or financial services. This interpretation is wrong What I mean by nature-based solutions are the natural products that Mother Nature has bestowed upon us, simply because we were born on Earth. Nature-based solutions are carbon sequestration The, our primary forests are the largest above-ground carbon storage. They store between 50 and 100 parts per million carbon. This means that should we lose even a quarter of those primary forests it is highly unlikely that we can keep temperature rise under 1.5 degrees. Nature-based solution is rain fallen and sufficient water for agriculture. One of the many services that the Amazonian rainforest provides is 70% of the rainfall for the southern part of South America. Should the Amazonian rainforest collapse, and remember its tipping point is 80%, we lose globally significant agricultural areas. By nature based solutions. I mean fertile soils. We’re killing off our soils and that is resulting in a collapse of nature-based solutions. And one more one more comment – Nature-based solutions are also the livelihoods for 1.6 billion people who depend directly on wild nature for their incomes, for their calories and for their homes. Should these landscapes disappear, we not only lose ecologically significant landscapes, we create a humanitarian crisis. So this collapse is not a surprise for the Alliance of Mother Nature’s Guardians and let me tell you a little about this Alliance. This Alliance comes from the vision of a very famous indigenous leader – Chief Raoni from the Kayapo people in Brazil. You probably heard about him. We talk a lot because he’s been fighting for so long. He’s been participating for so many meetings with high-level authorities. And he asked for my help, to help him gather with indigenous leaders from all over the world. And he wanted to make a statement , a declaration. And I said we have to do a movement. We have to associate allies, too. And he agreed on that. So we started in COP 21, doing a declaration, the first declaration. Seventeen proposers, including people like Paul Watson from Sea Shepherd, for instance – he participated a lot. And we delivered the document to Ban Ki-moon, to the French president then and so it was the first start of the Alliance of Mother Nature’s Guardians. It was created to open a new path Because obviously it’s not working, this COP, this UN Summit, you know, not working. So we decided afterwards that we should strengthen the documents and Mindahi who is one of the front of the Alliance was there. We met again in Brasilia in 2017. Two hundred indigenous people and allies from 25 countries and we strengthened that document so we could construct, build strategies from that. So we’re going to talk about more details. But Mindahi is going to explain to you a little more about the the Great Assembly. This was a unique moment in in history, I guess. Thank you, my name is Mindahi Bastida from the Center for Earth Ethics., a Union Theological Seminary And also I am a member of the Chiquita committee with the Alliance of Guardians of Mother Nature. First of all, I like to say that in the call for the unification process, as indigenous peoples, we see that we have been the main guardians of Mother Nature. And it means a lot, because In our territories, which accounts for 5% of the population worldwide , around 370 million and 500 million people around the world and We are distributed by around 90 countries because some countries still don’t recognize indigenous peoples’ population. That’s a big problem because even now our territories that are under juridical National State ownership, We don’t have access to the underground and we don’t have access to the sky. And it means that any territory around the world in the indigenous territories is threatened: not just by mining, not just by oil production, but also by the bioengineering and also bioprospecting, regarding genetic resources and also traditional knowledge access. So it means that we are now, even in these days, seeking this alliance with other actors , with others, not just civil society, but governments that understand that we cannot make it, we cannot really confront climate change , without Indigenous peoples . If we want to save biodiversity we need to save indigenous peoples as well. Because our philosophy is very important. Our cosmologies are very important. In these territories that I’m telling you – five percent of the population around the world – we still are taking care about 80 percent of the most beautiful biodiversity of the world. But it is just not for granted. This has a lot of work. This is a lot of effort every day. And still we are confronting climate change because climate change is not just happening in one place. Climate change follows you anywhere around the world. So, as indigenous peoples, we are now at the time for sharing these values, sharing the principles about taking care of life and we need to recover also the languages, the communities – we need to recover these principles of reciprocity – because we always take and take and take and what do we give back to Nature? And also, think about this: We are here on this Mother Earth, as we call her. We are children of Mother Earth And we live with Mother Earth, not from her. And that’s what is creating a lot, a lot of damage in the world. So as guardians of and children of Mother Earth we are promoting this declaration that talks about the care of life, talks about how we need to rethink our presence as human beings in this world and the presence as we understand the presence of human beings is to take care of life. And for that we don’t need more declarations, but to take action. There is no time. And we need to come together: major groups, United Nations, , corporations that understand this big problem. And I like to stress this this thing: if there are institutions organizations that threaten life they must disappear, or be transformed – because everything is at stake, everything is at risk because we always think what kind of future we are delivering to the future generations. We are talking about sustainable development principle, about intergenerational equity. But that’s an anthropocentric our way of thinking: which is good as well, because we have to take care about the future. but we also need to think the other way around. What kind of people, what kind of generation we are to delivering to this Mother Earth? What Mindahi has just said, you know, is telling that we have no time for false solutions and our declaration – this is the French version and this is our symbol. It’s showing that we have no time to lose. And we are still losing time. We here in this small room. We should be included in the process, you know. We have a lot of solutions to propose and let’s talk about the Paris agreement, shortly, You know, the Paris Agreement. This is the way that we see that because we are reading the documents. Of course. We have some experts. And we defined the Paris Climate Agreement as a trade agreement that does nothing but privatise, commodify and sell carbon offsets for ocean, forest and agricultural lands, allowing those who are most responsible for greenhouse emissions , not only to buy their way out of compliance, but for emission reduction, but also to make a profit of it. You know, that’s the key. They still want to make profits on the back of future generations. Another example of what we we are requesting . The forests are burning. Everywhere. The Amazon forest is still burning. The Congo forest is burning. The Asian forests are burning, you know. Talking about Australia ,talking about Siberia – the same. No solution. There should be an urgent plan, here, today, in this COP – there’s nothing happening there, You see so, So, we really call — –we are, you know, we are not a huge movement. Now we’re starting, but we need your help – we call for, you know – a mobilisation to construct a project of sanctuarisation of forests Including many concepts inside the declaration. There’s no other way. Look are we going to talk again and again? How many times less for for Amazon rainforest – one year, we’re saying. We’re over the tipping point. So let’s talk about for instance sacred sites and other values that we have Inside the declaration. Yes, among the indigenous territories and other places around the world. We know that sacred sites are very important , that energetic places that are as well flourish is flourishing life So in many sacred places around the world are also threatened by mining, by urban sprawl, by evangelization as well, because the way of the new colonization is arriving to the communities is also threatening the cosmovision of indigenous peoples about taking care of life. So sacred sites are very important to protect. And we are working with UNESCO to produce a Document so we can ensure an international regime to protect our cultural sacred sites and we are touching this concept, this category ,about biocultural because we don’t see biodiversity and cultural diversity separated. You know, Cosmovision is all together. And., We have this notion of protecting sacred sites along with waters . Water is one of the most sacred elements in life. If we don’t protect water we are not protecting life. So we call for action and we call that the rivers and the lakes and the sea are not privatized, as in the Chile case. And let’s recognize eco crimes. Ecocide law: That’s very important. Thank you all for being here today. Thank you for our panelists of guests. You brought up a lot of wonderful points. I just want to point out that science and morality are telling us that we need to put the brakes on economic growth. We need to protect the rights of the land and the rights of indigenous people who have long been the Guardians of planet Earth and as our session was brought up this afternoon with the word of ambition , the fact is there’s too much ambition for development, too little ambition for conservation. Once again, thank you for being here. This has been a Scientist Warning coming to you live from COP25 here in Madrid

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