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

A new Congo Basin Programme

This Autumn Synchronicity Earth launches its new Congo Basin Programme! The programme is the result of several years’ work by our team to develop a strategy which aims to protect the ecological and cultural integrity of this important region. After supporting groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) over the last five years, we realised that if we really want make a difference, much more is needed beyond a few small grants (however valuable these have been to our…

Cycling for Species

Simon Stuart and his wife Ann are nearing the end of their epic #Cycle4Species. If you’re UK-based and have been wondering what’s happened to the summer, spare a thought for these two as they’ve been braving the wind and the rain from John O’Groats all the way down to Land’s End. Scroll down to see the whole story, in pictures and maps. After a few glorious days of weather at the beginning, they were faced with 9 days of unrelenting…

Moving on

After more than 6 inspiring years, in which she has helped to turn an idea into reality and driven our development as an organisation, Laura Miller, our Executive Director, is moving on. "Laura has taken us from our infancy to where we are now – a vital, robust and dynamic organization with great ambition. We are immensely grateful to Laura for everything that she has done. Not only has she played an instrumental role in developing our approach, but she…

Some Reflections on George Rabb

I first met George Rabb at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in October 1985 when I was interviewed by an intimidating panel of four men and one woman for the position of Species Programme Officer at The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) headquarters in Gland, Switzerland. George was on the panel – I don’t remember much of the interview, except that I got the job, and IUCN has defined my career ever since. At the IUCN World Conservation Congress…

No species left behind!

Estimating the number of species on Earth is a notoriously difficult task. A 2011 paper published in PLOS Biology gave a figure of 8.7 million (give or take 1.3 million)! However many there are, all species have a role to play in the diverse ecosystems that make up our planet. All species matter, not just the elephants, tigers, rhinos, whales and other well-known species that receive the greatest media attention and a disproportionate amount of conservation effort (of varying degrees…

Freshwater - a cinderella issue

Freshwater has long been a Cinderella issue i.e. routinely ignored but deserving more attention. Freshwater ecosystems - rivers, lakes, wetlands - cover less than one per cent of the earth’s surface, yet are home to up to 50 per cent of all fish species. Despite its importance, freshwater biodiversity is currently low down on environmental priorities, marine and terrestrial ecosystems tend to get far more attention. Freshwater receives little funding or political attention and protection. A key objective for Synchronicity…

Building momentum for Oceans

United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14 urges the global community to 'Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources’. This is a welcome step towards moving marine conservation up the agenda and linking it into the bigger picture of human and environmental development. Nevertheless, while there is still so much to discover about the oceans that make up over 90 per cent of the world’s habitable space, increasing evidence shows that they are being profoundly affected by human…

Focus on Forests

It seems self-evident that forests, particularly those found in the tropics, are critical to planetary health. Tropical rainforests cover less than two per cent of the Earth’s surface, but are home to at least half the world’s terrestrial species and support the livelihoods of over one billion people. Tropical forests are also thought to hold over 250 billion tons of carbon locked into their trees and deforestation is one of the major contributors to climate change. Half the world’s original…

Going the extra mile for forgotten species

Our Conservation Director, Simon Stuart, and his wife Ann will be going the extra mile (around 1000 extra miles, in fact) on their bicycles this Autumn to help conserve forgotten species. Simon took a moment out of his gruelling training regime (ahem...) to talk about the challenge ahead for them both, why they are doing it and what they expect to encounter along the way. In a nutshell, what are you doing and why? My wife, Ann, and I are…

The green shoots of Conservation Optimism

The recent Conservation Optimism Summit in London was one of a series of #EarthOptimism events (e.g. in Cambridge, UK and Washington, D.C) taking place to coincide with Earth day (April 22nd). In the face of an endless stream of negative, doom-laden stories about conservation and the environment, hope and optimism are needed more than ever. Conservation does make a difference, successes are real and need to be celebrated and with the right resources, approaches and determination, species can be brought…

Rivers for life!

It had been eight years since local activists working to protect the world's rivers last convened, so the International River Gathering hosted by CEE BankWatch and International Rivers in Tbilisi in the last week of March served as an opportunity for many to reconnect, to share their struggles and to learn from the experiences of others. It was a vibrant, rousing affair, and I was fortunate enough to attend to try to learn more about how local organisations are working…

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,…