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

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…