Synchronicity Earth

Synchronicity Earth is a charitable foundation with an ambitious vision: a sustainable planet that values the interconnectivity and interdependence of all living things.

Our Blog

An interview with Clare Shenstone

Clare Shenstone is an English painter who holds a master's degree from the Royal College of Art. Shenstone's portraits exist in some of today's most prominent public and private collections including The National Portrait Gallery and The Sir Robert and Lady Sainsbury collection. Shenstone has been awarded the Brian Sinfield Fine Arts Award (2000) and the Public Choice Award, Hunting Art Prize (2001). Shenstone began her career as an artist, following her graduation from the Royal College of Art in…

Meet our new Conservation Director, Dr Simon Stuart

At the end of 2016, Dr Simon Stuart completed his tenure as Chair of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Species Survival Commission after 8 years in the position, and more than 30 years with the IUCN. In January this year, Simon joined Synchronicity Earth as Conservation Director. We took the opportunity to speak to him about what his new role will involve and to find out his views on some of the key challenges for the conservation…

The story of Synchronicity Earth and the Orangutan

Addressing root causes: I often get asked why Synchronicity Earth has such a broad remit: why don’t we focus on the orangutan, for example, since it was our awareness of its plight that got us started?* Bornean Orangutan, by Clare Shenstone Here’s why. To understand the loss of a species means looking below the surface. The decline of an animal, plant or fungi is often just the visible tip of a vast, underlying iceberg. For example, orangutans are being pushed…

Conservation in Context

Working with local communities to protect a Critically Endangered crocodile in the Philippines At Synchronicity Earth we believe that essential aspects of effective conservation are long-term commitment and the capacity to take in all aspects of a situation causing species decline. If a species is bred successfully in captivity, but released into degraded habitat threatened by human activity, successful rehabilitation will be extremely challenging. Our partner, the Mabuwaya Foundation in the Philippines, is an outstanding example of an organisation whose…

Evolution, Endemism and Engagement

Biodiversity and Conservation in São Tomé and Príncipe In this next series of blogs we move on from our regional focus to highlight the projects we support to protect some of the world’s most endangered species. This blog describes the extraordinary and endangered avifauna on the African archipelago of São Tomé and Príncipe, and the work carried out by BirdLife International and its partners to engage local people and raise awareness of the value of the islands’ biodiversity, with the…

Where we work and why: Congo Basin

Synchronicity Earth partners with six groups (1) working in the Congo Basin, the majority in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Their activities range from challenging large scale hydropower and agribusiness concessions in important forest and riverine areas through to engaging parliamentarians to help give a voice to indigenous peoples. But why the Congo Basin? This article looks at some of the reasons why this region is so important to us. Okapi: Image, Clare Shenstone Incredible biological and cultural diversity:…

Where we work and why: Southeast Asia

A wildlife paradise facing multiple threats At Synchronicity Earth we work to support conservation action where it is needed most worldwide. Our overarching objective of slowing the global loss of biodiversity and tackling the extinction crisis leads naturally to a focus on regions where biodiversity is both the most abundant and the most threatened. Kanburi Pit Viper, by Clare Shenstone To identify these regions, our own research is complemented and informed by initiatives such as the Key Biodiversity Areas, WWF…

Solving the mystery of the disappearing Yangtze Finless porpoise

The Yangtze finless porpoise is a critically endangered subspecies of cetacean found only in the Yangtze river, China. Over the past two decades their population is believed to have dropped dramatically, but data are so sparse it is impossible to determine the extent or causes of this crash. Finless porpoise by Clare Shenstone The Yangtze finless porpoise is now at extremely high risk of extinction, and urgent research is needed to understand the pressures on this freshwater cetacean. Synchronicity Earth…

You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone

"Sharks are beautiful animals, and if you're lucky enough to see lots of them, that means that you're in a healthy ocean. You should be afraid if you are in the ocean and don't see sharks." Sylvia Earle Oceanic Whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus) Picture: Clare Shenstone Overexploitation Wildlife populations around the world are declining and many species are being pushed towards extinction. Alongside the loss, degradation and fragmentation of habitats, overexploitation is one of the most significant drivers of a…

When species lose their natural home

“The one process now going on that will take millions of years to correct is the loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. This is the folly our descendants are least likely to forgive us.” E.O Wilson Wattled crane (Bugeranus carunculatus) This month, we look at some of the species listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species*, which serves as a barometer for life on Earth. What makes these species Vulnerable,…

2016: Reasons to be cheerful

How was 2016 for the environment, and for Synchronicity Earth? A year of ups and downs for the environment Adoption of the new UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change meant that 2016 kicked off on a positive note. Further high profile gatherings throughout the year (the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii, the International Marine Conservation Conference in Canada, the CITES CoP in South Africa and the Convention on Biological…

River at risk - An alternative vision for the Sepik

The Sepik River basin in Papua New Guinea is an area of outstanding biological and cultural diversity, but a new mining venture now threatens the local population and their environment. The Sepik River meanders through the tropical forests of New Guinea, flowing north from its source in the Victor Emanuel Mountains and briefly into Indonesia before turning East and flowing for 900km to the Bismarck Sea on Papua New Guinea’s northern coast. At 1,100km, the river system is the longest…

What is biodiversity and why should we care?

"The earth is our home. Unless we preserve the rest of life, as a sacred duty, we will be endangering ourselves by destroying the home in which we evolved, and on which we completely depend.” - Edward O. Wilson Simply put, biodiversity is the variety of life. But what exactly is this variety of life, and how is it represented in the natural world? To date, science has described around 1.5 million species which have evolved since Earth’s last mass…

Connecting to the natural world

“The ingenuity with which we continue to reshape the surface of our planet is very striking, but it’s also sobering. It reminds me of just how easy it is for us to lose our connection with the natural world. Yet it’s on this connection that the future of both humanity and of the natural world will depend. It’s surely our responsibility to do everything within our power to create a planet that provides a home, not just for us, but…

Re-imagining Philanthropy

An uncharitable view of the charitable sector is that it is unprofessional and ineffective. According to this perspective, if charities only acted like businesses, they would have a greater impact. In the latest issue of Philanthropy Impact magazine, Synchronicity Earth's Executive Director, Laura Miller, and Head of Due Diligence and Risk, Michele Sanders ask whether it is reasonable to expect charities to act like businesses, and what this has to do with the relationship between money, mission and philanthropic return…

Extinction in the here and now

The species that have gone extinct The species that will go extinct in our lifetime The species that we will never know Because we destroyed their habitats Before we could ever know them. (Maya Lin, What is Missing?) Blue Ground Beetle (carabus intricatus) Picture: Clare Shenstone The word extinction, to many of us, conjures images of iconic animals and distant landscapes - big cats on African plains, polar bears striding across shrinking ice sheets, orangutans witnessing their rainforest habitat disappear.…

Fantastic Beasts & where to find them

A brief Q & A with Alison Sudol, aka Queenie Goldstein. Alison Sudol plays Queenie Goldstein in the latest JK Rowling offering, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, which opened in the UK on November 18th. In the midst of the whirlwind lead up to the film’s release, Alison took time out to answer a few questions about the film, about her role as a 'goodwill ambassador' for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and her recent…

Empowering deeper change at Bioneers

I recently curated a philanthropy panel at Bioneers 2016 entitled Empowering Deeper Change. We looked at how we – in the philanthropic sector – might better bridge the gap between the needs of the planet and our current capacity to address that gap, systemically. The panel was made up of Directors* from five very different organisations**, each bringing a vast amount of accumulated knowledge from the fields of international grass-roots activism and conservation; human rights; indigenous, youth and gender inequality;…

The hidden treasure in the heart of Ecuador

Q: What links a critically endangered brown-headed spider monkey, an Ecuadorian NGO, a London-based Fund Manager and a University of Sussex biologist? A: Synchronicity Earth (and chocolate). Synchronicity Earth has recently secured a multi-year funding package from a London-based Fund Management business to support the Cambugán Foundation, an Ecuadorian NGO working to conserve the critically endangered brown-headed spider monkey in an area of the Chocó rainforest in northwest Ecuador. To the north and west of Ecuador’s capital, Quito, is the…

Are we caring for our natural world?

The latest Living Planet Report 2016 should give us all pause for thought... Every two years, WWF works with key partners in the non-profit world to produce a report on the health of the natural world we live in. It incorporates the latest information on species populations and threats to ecosystems and tells us how we are doing in caring for our wonderful natural support system. So how are we doing? The Living Planet Index (LPI), using underlying data collected…

A new narrative for environmental philanthropy

"Let us not talk falsely now, for the hour is getting late…” Bob Dylan Environmental philanthropy is virtually nonexistent. Since we were founded seven years ago, Synchronicity Earth has devoted significant time and resource into understanding why this is so. In fact, we were created as a response to the sad truth that there was negligible financial support available for conservation. Sadly, the numbers haven’t changed very much; we still only allocate 4-6% of Western philanthropy to the environment and…

Plastic Oceans

Recent good news from the Marine Conservation Society UK revealed that their annual beach clean in 2016 showed that the 5p charge for plastic bags has had an immediate effect. The number of plastic bags collected almost halved, which shows that simple measures can have a big impact. In this blog, one of our young ambassadors, Lucilla Partridge, gives her take on plastic oceans. I know that it’s been quite a while since I’ve done my last blog but I…

Extinction: Thinking local, acting global

Synchronicity Earth friend and fellow species-lover, Louis Masai, is currently painting his way across the USA drawing attention to the extinction crisis with his Art of Beeing tour. He also dropped into the Bioneers conference in San Rafael, California, spoke at a session entitled ‘Visual art and social action,’ presented two short films - made in conjunction with Synchronicity Earth - and ran a hands-on workshop creating ‘bee hotels’ and wild seed balls! In common with Synchronicity Earth, whether it’s…

The Art of Conservation

Considering their importance, there is very little public discussion about climate change or the extinction crisis – perhaps because environmental problems are seen as remote, irrelevant, or unsolvable. They are anything but. Since Synchronicity Earth was created, we have tried to assess how best to make that point: Can we do so with ‘argument’, or do we need to appeal to the heart? Should we do both? We have seen art playing an increasingly important role in promoting public understanding…

Spotlight on CITES

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora The international trade of animals and plants stands as one of the biggest threats to many endangered species worldwide. Illegal wildlife trade (including illegal logging) is thought to generate up to USD$175bn annually, making it almost as lucrative as drugs-, arms- and people-trafficking. Meanwhile, extensive legal trade of wildlife is also adding to the pressure felt by these species – between 2005 and 2014, around 17.8 million…

Catching up with partners and building new networks

In 2012, I attended the IUCN’s World Conservation Congress (WCC) in Jeju, South Korea. I had been in my job at Synchronicity Earth for just over a year and was also in the throes of writing up my PhD thesis, looking at conservation networks and mountain gorilla conservation. My head was full to the brim of conservation connections and disconnections and how these impact conservation in practice. I thought the Congress might distract me from writing up (in fact it…

Channeling the Aloha Spirit

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) World Conservation Congress, held every 4 years, took place in Hawaii in early September. As IUCN Patrons of Nature, this is the second congress Jessica and Adam Sweidan have attended - the first was in Jeju, South Korea in 2012. A lot can change in four years… In this Q & A, Jessica tells us about this year’s Congress, the changes since Jeju and what she and Synchronicity Earth would take from…

The World Conservation Congress lands in Hawaii

The World Conservation Congress (in Hawaii) came hot on the heels of the World Congress of Herpetology (in China). Having just corrected 7 hours of jet lag East, I piled on another 11 hours of jet lag West, leaving me wondering whether the ensuing discussions about protecting our world would fly clean over my nodding head. Plus conservation conferences have the capacity to be very depressing affairs. In previous experiences, I had found locating any good news at these events…

Freshwater eels – on the agenda for protection and research

A longstanding challenge within the world of species conservation is that a vast proportion of the money, time and research is focused on “charismatic” species. This is so pronounced, that even the giraffe, a classically unique and interesting species, has suffered from lack of attention – scientists have only recently discovered that there may in fact be four separate species of giraffe! With this in mind, it is easy to picture the plight of the freshwater eel – brown and…

Mangroves

This is the first in our series of Spotlight features focusing on a specific ecosystem or habitat, looking at what makes it unique and worth protecting. We will highlight the work of some of the conservation projects and people working hard to protect and/or restore these places for their diversity of species and intrinsic value, as well as their value to the communities that live in and around them. Misunderstood mangroves Did you know? A mangrove can be a tree,…

The World Congress of Herpetology comes to China

Helen Meredith describes her visit to China to attend the World Congress of Herpetology. A mystery toad in Tonglu. Photo: Helen Meredith Much like the Olympics, the World Congress of Herpetology (WCH) has punctuated my life in four-yearly instalments since 2008. Eight years ago was the caipirinha-fuelled WCH-6 in Manaus in the Brazilian Amazon. I was representing the Zoological Society of London's EDGE Amphibians programme and it was my first major conference. It proved an education in the drinking stamina…

Tackling the illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam

20 Sunda pangolins live to fight another day! There was a chink of light earlier this month in what is often a gloomy picture for wildlife in Vietnam. Synchronicity Earth partner Save Vietnam’s Wildlife (SVW) successfully released 20 Critically Endangered Sunda pangolins back into the wild as part of the Carnivore and Pangolin Restoration Programme, a collaboration with Cuc Phuong National Park. Vietnam is a country of astonishing biodiversity, yet the trade in wildlife, as in much of Southeast Asia…

Dr Simon Stuart is joining Synchronicity Earth

We are delighted to say that Dr Simon Stuart, Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, will be joining Synchronicity Earth in January, 2017. His current role with the IUCN will end in September. Read more about Simon's new role at Synchronicity Earth and the huge benefits this will bring to our work: Dr Simon Stuart is joining Synchronicity Earth  

Taking steps to protect the Critically Endangered White-bellied Heron

In 2013, Synchronicity Earth became aware of the plight of a little known species of heron – the White-bellied Heron. Not dissimilar in appearance to the well-known Grey Heron, which is widespread and abundant throughout the UK and much of the world, but differing in its huge size, as the world’s second largest heron, and in its extreme rarity, the White-bellied Heron is a species requiring significant conservation attention and action. When Synchronicity Earth first became involved with the White-bellied…

What has EU environmental policy ever done for us?

Potential Impacts on UK environmental policy following Brexit We have reviewed a number of articles, papers and opinion pieces, published both before and after the Brexit vote, about the potential impacts of a ‘leave’ outcome on UK environmental policy. This is a brief summary of some of the key issues, with links to longer articles that may be of interest. Some of the key environmental directives introduced by the EU include; the Bathing Water Directive; the Air Quality Framework Directive…

Great news for amphibians! Meet our new team member, Helen Meredith

Helen Meredith knows a thing or two about frogs (and most other amphibians you care to mention). We're delighted at Synchronicity Earth to have Helen join our team, where she will continue to carry out her role as Executive Director of the Amphibian Survival Alliance (ASA), and we look forward to learning from and supporting each other in years to come. Helen Meredith with Japanese giant salamander: Photo: Sumio Okada I caught up with Helen to talk to her about…

A landmark victory for the deep seas

These are challenging times for the EU, but amidst all the uncertainty, there was cause for celebration last week for ocean lovers across Europe. The European Commission, European Parliament and the Council of the EU finally reached agreement to implement new regulations on deep sea bottom trawling in the Northeast Atlantic. After many years of campaigning, Synchronicity Earth project partners Bloom Association and the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition were instrumental in this landmark victory for marine conservation, a testament to…

Job Opportunity - Junior Research Analyst (Maternity Cover)

Reporting to: Portfolio Lead Last updated: June 2016 Salary: Starting from £25,000 per annum Contract Type: Fixed Term for 6 months with the possibility of extension. Closing Date: 18th July, 2016 Start Date: Early September, 2016 Applications (CV and Cover Letter) to: info@synchronicityearth.org What is Synchronicity Earth? Synchronicity Earth is an enterprising charity with an ambitious vision: we wish to stop the extinction crisis. We invest our own resources thoughtfully to deliver the best possible chances of change. Our research…

Sowing the Seeds of Collaboration

In May 2016, the Agroecology Fund teamed up with the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa to host a 4-day learning exchange to investigate and share agroecological solutions to global problems including hunger, rural poverty and environmental degradation. But what is agroecology, and how did Synchronicity Earth get involved in this vital area? Katy Scholfield (our Forests and Oceans Portfolio lead) attended the event in Masaka, Uganda, and in this short interview she talks about the benefits of the agroecological…

A Clash of Visions Over the Congo River and Africa’s Biggest Dam Scheme

By Rudo Sanyanga In the spirit of engaging our partners, please see below for a blog by Rudo Sanyanga from International Rivers. A native of Zimbabwe, Rudo holds a PhD in Aquatic Systems Ecology from Stockholm University. She is the Africa Program Director of International Rivers and is based in Pretoria. This article was first published here. It’s been three years since the governments of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Africa signed a bilateral treaty to develop…

Women’s Alliance for the Living World

At Synchronicity Earth, we are fortunate to work with some exceptional women who have all taken extraordinary steps to protect life on Earth, working against escalating odds to address the most urgent environmental challenges facing our only home. They are passionate defenders, striving to create a healthy and safe future for current and future generations – protecting oceans, regenerating wetlands, working with local communities to protect their forests and halt the extinction crisis. We support and believe in them because…

Regeneration through Agroecology – Building healthy food and farming systems in West Africa

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts about our exciting new Regeneration initiative. The AgroEcology Fund (AEF) is a multi-donor fund committed to supporting diverse individuals and groups around the world – from women’s cooperatives to university scientists – to develop agroecological solutions to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change on their environment and livelihoods. The fund aims to enhance collaboration among different organisations and to increase the volume and long-term effectiveness of research, advocacy, and…

The ‘E’ in ESG

This is the third in a series of blog posts about our exciting new Regeneration initiative. Last year our Chairman, Adam Sweidan was invited to guest speak on PMI TV, the online channel for Pensions Management Institute. During the interview, Adam discussed ESG, his passion for the environment and the pension fund industry. Earlier blogs in our Regeration series: What is Regeneration and how does it build biodiversity and support communities? by Catherine Bryan The Mangrove Action Project – a…

The Mangrove Action Project – a network of small-scale projects with a large-scale impact

This is the second in a series of blog posts about our exciting new Regeneration initiative. The Mangrove Action Project works around the world to protect and restore mangroves, some of the most important and neglected ecosystems on the planet. You can read the first blog by Catherine Bryan 'What is Regeneration and how does it build biodiversity and support communities?' from our Regeneration series here.        Tweet

What is Regeneration and how does it build biodiversity and support communities?

Around the world farming, mining, industrial production and many other activities are changing landscapes at an alarming rate. Often the result is a fragmented landscape, with ‘islands’ of forest or mangroves separated by cleared and degraded areas. One way we can look to restore landscapes is to regenerate their natural biodiversity, slowly rebuilding the range of plants and wildlife that should occur naturally. By doing this we learn from evolution, a constant process that has taken place over thousands of…

Rubbish Rivers

By Lucilla Partridge In the spirit of engaging young people who are involved in conservation, please see below a new blog from Lucilla Partridge who is giving her own perspective. Hi! I’m really sorry that I haven’t blogged in a while but I promise that I will make it up to you. I cannot believe how quickly this year has gone by, especially since I just had my 14th birthday and It is already Easter holiday’s for me! However, during…

Food security in Chad

By Madeline Park In the spirit of engaging young people who are involved in conservation, please see below a new blog from Madeline Park who is giving her own perspective. Hi, my name is Madeline Park and I am in eighth grade at the Nueva School in Hillsborough, California. I have become very interested in global food security this year and believe that if our world is going to be successful in the future, we need to start spending more…

False Solutions? 3 Ways To Evaluate Grand Climate Proposals

In the spirit of engaging with those who are passionate about the environment and the world around them, please see below a guest blog by Jeremey Lent. This article first appeared in Patterns of Meaning on the 22nd March 2016. Jeremy Lent is an author whose writings investigate the patterns of thought that have led our civilization to its current crisis of sustainability. His science fiction novel about genetic engineering, Requiem of the Human Soul, was published in 2009. His…

Today is World Water Day!

Today is World Water Day – a day to focus attention on the importance of freshwater and to advocate for its ‘sustainable management.’ This is increasingly needed due to rising water scarcity and stress, which mean that around 10 per cent of people still lack access to clean drinking water and sanitation, resulting in high infant mortality in some parts of the world. World Water Day 2016 aims to highlight how water can create livelihoods and to remind us of…

Counting and protecting Amazon river dolphins

In the spirit of engaging with our partners please see below a blog by our partner Oceans Initiative. This blog was first published here. Did you know two species of river dolphin live in the Amazon? The pink one is called boto, or Inia; the grey one is called tucuxi, or Sotalia. Both are gorgeous, ancient species that have become adapted to live their entire lives in freshwater. They are also incredibly tough to spot in muddy waters, and have…

New threat to Virunga

In the spirit of engaging with our partners please see below a blog by our partner Global Witness. Watch and share Global Witness's film on the urgent new threat to Virunga – Africa’s oldest national park. On the 26th of February seven companies submitted bids to the Ugandan government in a licencing round which includes the Ngaji oil block which covers half of Lake Edward and large parts of Queen Elizabeth National Park, and forms part of the same continuous…

Happy International Women’s Day!

This blog celebrates the amazing women in our portfolio – many of whom work in male-dominated contexts, some putting their lives on the line to protect nature; to defend their communities; or to promote the rights of women and girls. Their work is inspirational. In Sabah Malaysia, Hutan has helped to change attitudes towards women through reforestation. When Hutan started its reforestation programme several years ago, it was very difficult for women to work in the region, let alone to…

Forest elephants

Happy World Wildlife Day, (3rd March 2016)! This year’s theme is “The future of wildlife in our hands” with a focus on African and Asian elephants. Therefore, we wanted to take this opportunity to join conservationists around the world in shining a spotlight on elephants. This blog focuses on the current crisis facing Africa’s forest elephants, which seem to receive far less media attention and conservation support than Africa’s better-known and larger savanna elephants. Image: Forest elephant grazing in savanna,…

Congo threatens to open world’s second largest rainforest to new industrial loggers

London/Kinshasa (Wednesday 2nd March, 2016): A tropical rainforest more than twice the size of France is at risk of being cut down, following news from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that the government is considering re-opening its forest to new logging companies. This comes at a time when the governments of Norway, France, Germany, the UK, and the European Union, are assessing whether to support a billion-dollar plan proposed by the DRC government to protect the country's 1.55 million…

Surreal Spring: The Cognitive Dissonance of Our Climate Emergency

By Jeremy Lent In the spirit of engaging with those who are passionate about the environment and the world around them, please see below a guest blog by Jeremey Lent. This article first appeared in Patterns of Meaning on the 16th February 2016. Jeremy Lent is an author whose writings investigate the patterns of thought that have led our civilization to its current crisis of sustainability. His science fiction novel about genetic engineering, Requiem of the Human Soul, was published…

Iruka & Kujira (Dolphin & Whale) Action Network

The Iruka & Kujira (Dolphin & Whale) Action Network (IKAN) is a small Japanese organisation run by Nanami Kurasawa and a handful of committed volunteers. We have a long-term relationship with IKAN and Nanami through Synchronicity Foundation and are now supporting them through Synchronicity Earth. To read more about this partnership click here. Click here to read about Japan’s relationship with whaling, featuring an interview with Junko Sakuma, one of IKAN’s researchers. Click here to read about Japan's latest hunting…

Dying for Love

'It is a sad truth that when nature speaks, mankind doesn’t listen' - Victor Hugo Coral reefs are home to diverse marine life from the tiniest brightly coloured sea slug to the largest whale shark. Millions of people depend on them for livelihoods, food and coastal protection. By 2030, 90% will be threatened. #lovecorals is a campaign orchestrated by prominent environmental player and conservation charity Synchronicity Earth. Featuring a series of vibrant paintings by renowned Street Artist Louis Masai on…

Gwilt and Shadowtime: A New Language for the Anthropocene

By Jeremy Lent In the spirit of engaging with those who are passionate about the environment and the world around them, please see below a guest blog by Jeremey Lent. This article first appeared in Patterns of Meaning on the 29th January 2016. Jeremy Lent is an author whose writings investigate the patterns of thought that have led our civilization to its current crisis of sustainability. His science fiction novel about genetic engineering, Requiem of the Human Soul, was published…

Year of the Monkey

Today is the first day of the Chinese Year of the monkey - the ninth of the 12 animals in the reoccurring Chinese calendar. People born in the Year of the Monkey are said to be quick-witted, curious, innovative and mischievous – much like our near-relatives! Yet primates (monkeys and apes) have been particularly heavily impacted by habitat loss and fragmentation and used by people for food and in traditional medicines: nearly half of all the 702 species and subspecies…

2016

By Lucilla Partridge In the spirit of engaging young people who are involved in conservation, please see below a new blog from Lucilla Partridge who is giving her own perspective. Happy New Year! I can’t believe that we have finally made it to 2016. This year we look forward to so many wonderful events like The Olympics in Brazil and Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday. I also know that this year is going to be an exciting year for space lovers…

Groups demand stop to new oil drilling threat to Africa’s oldest national park

Global Witness Press Release 21st January 2016: Over 60 environmental and tourism groups demand stop to new oil drilling threat to Africa’s oldest national park Over 60 environmental and tourism groups today called for UNESCO and the governments of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo to reach a deal to stop new oil drilling licences from being awarded in Virunga National Park and the surrounding area. Groups, including Global Witness, Greenpeace and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), are…

Protect the Mountain Gorilla…Save Uganda’s Kafuga Forest!

By Robert Tumwesigye In the spirit of engaging with those who are passionate about the environment and the world around them, please see below a guest blog by Robert Tumwesigye from Pro-Biodiversity Conservationists in Uganda (PROBICOU). One of the last refuges of the Mountain Gorilla, Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, is under threat from plans to clear fell ancient rain forest on the park’s perimeter to make way for tea plantations. Tea growers, backed by members of the district…

COP21 – Is the jubilation warranted?

By Jeremy Lent In the spirit of engaging with those who are passionate about the environment and the world around them, please see below a guest blog by Jeremy Lent. This article first appeared in Patterns of Meaning on the 16th December 2015. There was a resounding tone of history being made over the weekend in Paris. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was close to tears as he declared: “We have entered a new era of global cooperation on one…

Our world is not as bad as you think

By Lucilla Partridge In the spirit of engaging young people who are involved in conservation, please see below a new blog from Lucilla Partridge who is giving her own perspective. Sea becoming acidic - Chemistry in School How great is our world - R.S. Orang-utans deforestation - NG Kids Magazine Appreciate what's in our planet Population Increase - Geography Can you believe how quickly this year has gone? Just 1 second ago it was summer and the next second, I…

Climate and Biodiversity: How can we take meaningful action?

With the world’s leaders meeting in Paris at the beginning of December to set targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the timing seemed right to host an evening, led by two expert speakers, to discuss the realities of climate change. Does the global process work? What is happening below government level? How are landscapes and wildlife changing in response to climate change, and how can we take meaningful action? Our experts, Dr Kersty Hobson, a social scientist researching individual, community…

IUCN Species Survival Commission Leaders Meeting

Synchronicity Earth’s Founding Trustee, Adam Sweidan, and I attended the recent International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC) Leaders meeting in Abu Dhabi. The IUCN SSC is a network organisation with a few core paid staff. However, the majority of its 140 Specialist Groups and committees are made up of thousands of passionate volunteer-experts, ranging from academics to NGO staff, whose work focuses on a diverse range of species including little-known fungi to the well-known African…

Experience is everything. Well, it counts for a lot - especially in conservation

I've just returned from visiting Hutan, one of the organisations we support in Sabah, Borneo. I went because at its heart, it is about orang-utans, and at my heart, one might say I'm about orang-utans too. I've met many of our project partners - we are lucky to be based in London, a city so many people pass through - I'd even had the pleasure of meeting Isabelle Lackman, Hutan's founder in our offices. Over the years I've learned about…

Q & A With Louis Masai – The Coral Mural and Campaign

We asked artist Louis Masai about the process of painting the LondonLovesCorals mural in Shoreditch, and about his hopes for our broader coral campaign. The mural was started on 10th September, sparking tremendous social media interest, with people asking Louis to add their favourite coral-dependent species to the composition. The completed painting is becoming a landmark for London street-art tours, and the local campaign to save the mural means that it will be around for the foreseeable future. Keep in…

Bringing a Reef to Life

On 11th September 2015, talented artist, Louis Masai, began a new collaboration with Synchronicity Earth. His Mission: to paint a 60 foot mural on a wall in Shoreditch, London. He started with a globe – its continents fringed with dead reef structures. Throughout the week, viewers were treated to the sight of an ecosystem coming to life. First came the diverse and abundant corals, and then the fish and mammal species that depend on them. By the 7th day, the…

Biophilia

Biophilia - n. an appreciation of life and the living world; n. an innate love for the natural world, supposed to be felt universally by humankind. In 2014 Synchronicity Earth launched its Biophilia campaign to mark 50 years of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Since scientists first started documenting the state of all known species according to their risk status in the 1970s, the world has seen a rapid decline in wildlife. And while conservationists are bringing some…

Saving Coral Reefs Depends More on Protecting Fish Than Safeguarding Locations

In the spirit of engaging with our partners please see below a blog by our partner Wildife Conservation Society. Study finds fish biomass more important than habitat or other factors used to define biodiversity ‘hotspots’ Reefs containing more than 600 kilograms per hectare of fish biomass should be conservation priorities A new study by WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) has found that coral reef diversity ‘hotspots’ in the southwestern Indian Ocean rely more on the biomass of fish than where they…

The Importance of the ‘E’ in ESG

This article was originally posted on Pension Funds Online on 7th August 2015. Aurum's Adam Sweidan calls for the investment industry to help preserve the environment. The investment industry manages money; pensions for our future and wealth for future generations. But what future are we saving for if we do not preserve the environment? We live in an era where people believe that most problems can be solved with money and technology. Take quantitative easing; if there is not enough…

Critters in the sea

By Louise Hyslop In the spirit of engaging with those who are passionate about the environment and the world around them, please see below a guest blog by Louise Hyslop about her recent diving trip to the Philippines. Our oceans are at risk from a number of threats. The carbon dioxide that we are pumping into the atmosphere is slowly being absorbed by the oceans and acidifying them. There are also vast swirling patches of trash such as the "Great…

Bad but good

By Lucilla Partridge In the spirit of engaging young people who are involved in conservation, please see below a new blog from Lucilla Partridge who is giving her own perspective. Summer is on the way, and in magazines and newspaper articles, many things have caught my eye. I’ve realised that with each bad thing happening in the world, good things are being done. As many of us know, Rhinos are critically endangered and many of us our concerned with this…

Global Sustainable Food and Agriculture: A Landscape Assessment

The Global Alliance for the Future of Food is a coalition of foundations that have come together to help engender a transition towards sustainable food and agricultural systems that promote security and equity. It recently commissioned a report overviewing the relevant philanthropic landscape. The report includes: Profiles of 24 donors working on food and agriculture - we are delighted to be included amongst them; Identification of critical issues facing sustainable food and agriculture systems; and Case studies that illustrate collaborative…

Pope Francis’ encyclical

Long before its publication on June 18th 2015, Pope Francis’ encyclical – Laudato si’ (subtitled “On the care of our common home”) – was subject to intense media speculation. A strong pro-environmental message was anticipated which, given the Pope’s reformist reputation, appealed particularly to those who saw the need for spiritual leadership: others hoped to dissuade the Pope from intervening on matters that they saw primarily as being non-religious. And so the encyclical carefully sets out the case for a…

A wave of change

On Friday (19th June, 2015), the world moved closer to creating a conservation treaty for the High Seas – the vast body of water beyond national jurisdiction that covers over half of the Earth’s surface. A long process has been underway at the United Nations (UN) since 2006 to determine the need for such a treaty and to decide whether it is feasible. A Resolution at the UN’s General Assembly on Friday re-affirmed the commitment by Heads of State and…

To make palm oil ‘sustainable’ local communities must be in charge

By Forest Peoples Programme In the spirit of engaging partners, see below a guest blog from Forest Peoples Programme. This article first appeared in The Ecologist. The palm oil industry's repeated failure to keep its promises illustrates why global initiatives to achieve 'sustainable palm oil' must place communities centre-stage, writes FPP. Standard-setters like the RSPO must demand action, enforcement and accountability - not just lofty commitments that inspire hope, but rarely deliver. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification…

Nepal - Link between dams and earthquakes?

Nepal is located in the Eastern Himalayas between India and Tibet within a seismically active region. It is therefore subject to earthquakes - the most recent of which occurred in April 2015, killing thousands of people and creating a national-scale catastrophe. There are fears that more earthquakes and aftershocks will follow, and that their consequences might be exacerbated by hydropower dams. Nepal’s Seismological Centre, a government body, lists floods from dams, levee failure and subsidence as earthquake-related hazards on its…

What price Picasso?

By Victor Miller In the spirit of engaging with those who are passionate about the environment and the world around them, please see below a guest blog by Victor Miller who is the father of our Executive Director, Laura Miller. So a painting by Picasso sets a new world record. Does this really reflect the value of the painting or the wealth (beyond avarice) of the new, unknown owner? Who will see it and who will enjoy it? More and…

Hope

By Lucilla Partridge In the spirit of engaging young people who are involved in conservation, please see below a new blog from Lucilla Partridge who is giving her own perspective. Summer is almost here! For me, this means I am getting to the end of my school year. Since starting at my new school, I have been keen to get involved in environmental causes. I even stood as the Green Party candidate for my school ‘general election.’ Unfortunately, I did…

Spring 2015 Newsletter

In November last year we turned 5 and as we approached that milesone we had a very busy 2014. We continued to support our excellent partners throughout Africa, Southeast Asia, Micronesia and Melanesia and developed a new portfolio theme, focusing on regeneration. We also hosted a glorious Biophilia Ball to mark both our fifth birthday and 50 years of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, as well as several smaller events throughout the year, including two ground-breaking educational initiatives…

Virunga’s future remains tenuous

We have blogged previously about worrying plans for oil exploration within Virunga, Africa’s oldest and most biodiverse National Park, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the beginning of March, the Prime Minister of the DRC announced that his government wants to find a way to explore for oil in Virunga and will engage in negotiations with UNESCO to explore this idea. Civil society groups (including some of our partners) only heard about these discussions via press reports.…

The Limits of Growth revisited

On 10th March, 2015, Zoological Society London hosted a discussion entitled ‘Are Economic Growth and Biodiversity Conservation Compatible?’ Moderating, and providing an overview of biodiversity trends since the 1970s, Jonathan Baillie – Director of ZSL Conservation Programmes and Synchronicity Earth advisor – highlighted a key insight from analyses of data: species declines slow as societies become more developed. But does this mean that development is good for biodiversity? Emma Duncan, Associate Editor of The Economist, has long argued that economic…

Power of photographs

By Lucilla Partridge In the spirit of engaging young people who are involved in conservation, please see below a new blog from Lucilla Partridge who is giving her own perspective. Hi! This month, I wanted to talk about so much how you can help others be aware through many ways. Over the past few weeks, my Dad has been in touch with a professional photographer called David Yarrow, who goes out to many places and takes incredible pictures of wildlife.…

EPIC project is back at Koh Klang village with Projects Abroad volunteers

This blog was first published on 23rd February 2015 by Synchronicity Earth partner Mangrove Action Project. On February 13th, 2015, 12 volunteers and 2 staff members from Projects Abroad together with 1 project manager from IUCN, 3 staff from MAP-Asia and 6 villagers from the Klong Prasong district were back in Koh Klang village to work at EPIC-CBEMR site # 2. The volunteers were very international coming from Denmark, Germany, UK, France, Switzerland, Argentina, USA, Canada and China. The objectives…

Synchronicity Earth celebrates its 5th birthday

In our first 5 years, we have mapped out the best way that we can add value as donors and actors in the environmental space so that we can inspire others but also ensure that the most needed interventions are supported. Jessica sets out the inspiration behind and purpose of SE in this Think Piece and Speech. Speech given by Jessica Sweidan at the Biophilia Ball - 22nd November 2014, Natural History Museum Tweet

Progress towards protection for the High Seas

What is it? New York, 25th January 2015: At a meeting of the UN Working Group on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction, governments agreed to begin negotiations for a new legally binding instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of the high seas. The agreement comes after nine long years of deliberation and intensive negotiations and is the result of efforts by the High Seas Alliance and the IUCN (both SE partners). Why is it so important? The agreement covers the…

White-bellied Heron Working Group established

After discovering the plight of the world’s second largest heron and one of the most threatened birds globally, I felt a need to do something to help kick-start collaboration between the range states and to increase action and interest in the species. I identified some of the most dedicated White-bellied heron conservationists and researchers but as I got to understand their work it became clear that they needed to scale-up their efforts in order to save the species. After many…

Three years at Synchronicity Earth – So why’s it so unique?

Having always worked in the charity sector (in wildlife conservation and related fields), I was surprised to discover a completely different type of organisation – Synchronicity Earth – when I joined just over three years ago. We are a charity with a difference: we are trying to increase the number of people giving to environmental causes. Rather than compete with other charities in the sector, we direct the funds we raise towards them. Unlike many foundations, we don’t put out…

Scientists call for an end to deep sea bottom trawling in UK waters

Last week, I attended a meeting in Parliament hosted by former Fisheries Ministers Ben Bradshaw and Richard Benyon. Presentations given by marine scientists helped explain why deep sea habitats around the UK and Ireland are so important for both environmental and economic reasons. Yet currently these vulnerable habitats, the species they support and the services they provide are threatened by bottom trawling, whereby fishing vessels drag giant nets along the sea floor. Bedrock reef at Solan Bank, UK covered with…

World Parks Congress

The sixth International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Parks Congress was held 12-19 November 2014 in Sydney, Australia. Almost 6,000 people participated, including conservationists, indigenous and community organisations, academics, policy makers and business leaders. Synchronicity Earth’s Founder – Adam Sweidan – attended along with freshwater and species CRA, Gemma Goodman. Opening Ceremony at World Parks Congress Photo: Wayne Quilliam Photography. Many of the discussions were about meeting Aichi Target 11 which states: “By 2020, at least 17 per…

New thinking

By Lucilla Partridge In the spirit of engaging young people who are involved in conservation, please see below a new blog from Lucilla Partridge who is giving her own perspective. Happy New Year! 2015 has finally arrived. Most people may have new years resolutions, I normally don’t, but this year I am hoping to be able to spread the word of thinking sustainably to more people. Deforestation caused by palm oil plantations. Photo: Ulet Ifansasti (Greenpeace). This year, I want…

Virunga discussed in parliament

Allegations of human rights abuses and corruption, associated with SOCO International’s oil exploration in and around Virunga National Park, were discussed in the UK parliament this week. In the House of Commons on 17th December 2014, Pauline Latham MP OBE raised the Question: “Will the Secretary of State tell us what her Department has done to address the serious and well-documented allegations of bribery and violence committed by SOCO International in the Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of…

Your Century!

On 21st November, Synchronicity Earth invited over 100 12 to 18 year olds and their families to an event that marked a milestone in young peoples’ environmental leadership. Your Century! - a multi-workshop and knowledge base experience – gave participants the space to actively explore their relationship to the planet as never before through encounters with environmental activists, spoken word artists, film-makers, artists and explorers – all seeking to challenge prevailing myths and nurture a more engaged way of living.…

White-bellied heron workshop

Synchronicity Earth has organised a workshop bringing together conservationists to protect the Critically Endangered White-bellied heron. Our species portfolio lead, Gemma Goodman, is in Guwahati, India, and last night welcomed participants from across the range states of the world's second largest, but highly threatened heron: I’d like to welcome you all here to the opening of the White-bellied heron conservation-planning workshop. Thank you to all of you for being here. Many of you have come from far and wide to…

Your Century!

By Lucilla Partridge In the spirit of engaging young people who are involved in conservation, please see below a new blog from Lucilla Partridge who is giving her own perspective. On the 21st of November, Your Century! took place at the Royal Geographical Society, London. It was so much fun, and I really felt part of something. At school, not everyone feels the same way I do about Earth, but at Your Century! I felt at home. We collected special…

The Biophilia Auction

Benefitting Synchronicity Earth and the IUCN Red List, Disappearing Nature presents a diverse range of work from a selection of leading contemporary artists, wildlife conservationists and photographers, including Andy Goldsworthy, Dan Holdsworth and Marcus Coates. Each piece is connected through the artists' insights into nature and its relationship with humankind. Culminating in the Biophilia Ball, the online auction ends this Friday (21st November 2014). Click here and watch the video below for more information. Biophilia Artist Film from Synchronicity Earth…

Red List week!

This week, we are marking the 50th anniversary of the IUCN Red List – the world’s most comprehensive information-source on the global threat status of species. The Red List is the starting point for all conservation action, yet it is woefully underfunded and unappreciated. We have planned a week of activities for people of all ages to increase awareness. Most of these are happening in and around London – some further afield: all will be visible online, via event videos…

Invaluable Health Check-up for our Environment

By Peter Bosshard In the spirit of engaging with our partners please see below a blog by Peter Bosshard. Peter is the Policy Director of International Rivers. In the 1950s, thousands of Baiji river dolphins plied the waters of the Yangtze, Asia’s mightiest river. The Chinese river dolphin had evolved over 20 millions of years, and was revered as the goddess of the Yangtze. By 1994, fewer than 100 individuals remained, and by 2006, the dolphin had become extinct. A…