Women’s Alliance for the Living World

By | 2018-01-12T08:54:11+00:00 May 10th, 2016|Advocacy, Environment, Gender, In-Depth|0 Comments

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 they:

  • recognise that we need to act if we are to leave a fitting legacy to future generations.
  • realise that we need to work collaboratively and creatively to prevent the world’s most diverse and vulnerable places from being destroyed.
  • understand that the myriad challenges we face – social, political, economic – are all linked to – and exacerbated by – accelerating environmental destruction around the globe.
  • have long understood that speaking out for those on the margins of majority concern is important.
  • devote their lives to doing what they can and inspiring others.

On 5th May 2016 I introduced the idea of an Alliance that uses our collective networks to build a healthy and abundant legacy for future generations, to a small group of women. I wanted to see if women would respond to my message, and support me to grow Synchronicity Earth.

The response has been tremendously positive.

The Women’s Alliance for the Living World is nascent, but it feels powerful. We can solve the problems and the threats that we face, but it will require stamina, huge amounts of creativity, resource, skills, influence, intuition and emergent thinking. This is why we are doing this together.

As it develops, I will keep you informed of our ideas, progress and actions. If this is something that speaks to you, please let me know.

This Alliance is dedicated to all that environmental defenders that Synchronicity Earth is privileged to support.

Here, please find the framework of my talk. I spent a lot of time crafting it, and now I want to share it.

Against all current advice, I am going to begin by introducing some heavy statistics into this beautiful gathering for one reason: it is vital that we mark this moment in time where at least we knew how much earth was suffering, so that we can begin to break this cycle of harm, and create harmony. As women, I think we can handle it.

Everything I now know tells me that we are living in what could be called a state of emergency. Here’s why:

  • We have cultivated ¼ of Earth’s terrestrial surface: and in order to feed our growing population this will need to increase by 70%. This will only reduce the developing world’s undernourished to 4% by 2050.
  • We are already exceeding 400-PPM carbon dioxide in certain parts of the planet.  Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere; the oceans are warming and are 30% more acidic since pre-industrial times; sea levels are rising and Arctic summer ice has greatly declined.
  • We’ve lost about 35% of our Mangrove Forests in the last several decades, largely due to shrimp farming. Among so many other things, mangroves are coastal buffer zones. Think natural disaster, and what this means for displaced people.
  • About 1/3 of Earth’s original tropical forest cover has been lost in the last century, and an area about the size of Greenland was cleared in the last 13 years.
  • Our Wetlands – globally, we’ve lost 50%; in some regions – its 95%. Two-thirds of world’s rivers are now severely fragmented by dams and reservoirs, leaving 80% of the world’s population exposed to high levels of threat to water security. This before mentioning pollution and the effects all of this has on inland fisheries.
  • Coral Reefs are an ancient ecosystem. Some are 2.5 million years old. They cover less than 1% of Earth’s surface but harbor 1/3 of all described marine life. It is predicted that they will be gone in our lifetime.
  • Oceans – where do I begin? Plastic pollution? Dead zones? The unprotected high and deep seas? How about we may have more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2030. Or, we could have fishless oceans by 2050.
  • And then we have our precious animals, plants and fungi. We have already wiped out 50% of all non-human life on earth in my lifetime. I’m only 45. And, 1/5 of the world’s remaining vertebrates are currently threatened with extinction.

Humans are having a profoundly negative impact on all of our living systems, largely because our leading worldview is fueled by natural resources, and nature is valued as a commodity. This worldview has been disastrous for the earth, because we don’t seem to know when enough is enough, and our global appetite is only increasing.

In parallel, there also seems to be a leading world pretense that everything is OK, that the next generations will solve the problems we have helped create. While that may be true, shouldn’t we at least try to do better before we depart? I, for one, cannot stand by and simply watch.

Our world is complex, and in many ways, as we all know, we are more linked together than we have ever been, having more access to information than ever before. As a result, it is also surprisingly easy to pretend that everything is OK, or to believe that the environment is in good hands, because we can tune into whatever we like, and ignore what we don’t.

But when it comes to issues like the environment – the one place, our home, that we all share – we all need to be involved, because we are all tangled together.

Being numb to these issues and losing our capacity to care, scares me more than anything.  There is too much at stake.

Interestingly, a state of emergency is also a point in time when something new can emerge: a time when new ideas, vision and hope is born.

Synchronicity Earth – an organization that I gave birth to about 8 years ago – is – I would humbly offer – an example of emergence.

Synchronicity Earth was created in order to fill a void. That void – was characterized by a nebula of questions surrounding environmental action: how can I help? What issues should I tackle? Which organizations should I support? Aren’t experts looking after the environment? What difference can one person make?

Now, Synchronicity Earth is a platform in service for us all, answering all of those questions, and so many more so that we can all understand the urgent threats, and most importantly, do something.  At our core, we value earth as a living being, and embrace its intrinsic value. We know that we exist as a part of nature, not separately – and that our health and wellbeing, are inextricably linked to the health and wellbeing of our planet.

More technically, we are an environmental hub that specializes in finding crucial gaps in current thinking, action and funding. We are an organization that has created an approach, based in deep scientific research, guided by leading experts, that is trying to help solve – or at least bring to the fore – these enormous problems and the significance they have on our lives. Guided by science, we then find, and work with environmental defenders and organizations who know better than we, how to effect lasting change. We heed their calls, and bring those voices to people like you. To women, like you.

For us earth, and our relationship with earth, is – or must return to – being one that is – sacred.

That is why I am launching this alliance: because women inherently know what I mean when I say sacred.

Women are taproots. We dive deep, source energy, and create other life. We grow things. We nurture things. We inherently care for things. And, we know how to connect.

And it is time for reconnection.

It is time to rekindle our relationship to nature and to others, and to finally and completely step in to our collective role as caregivers for Mother Earth. If we do not do more to give back and make up for all that we have already received – or taken – I am afraid that our collective future will be dramatically diminished.

The loss of life on earth is devastating – creatures great and small, flowering trees and shrubs, fungus – are all disappearing. This also means that textures, colours, sounds – wonder – are disappearing. The richness of life, as we know it, is fading away…. what will it be like for those that follow – our children, our friend’s children, our godchildren and theirs?

It may not come as a surprise that I am not a scientist. I studied Philosophy & Art. I’m effectively a creative thinker. I never intended to become an environmental activist, and I’m still not sure if that would be the best way to describe me…but needless to say, I am now firmly rooted in this space.

It is not a job; it is a way of life.

Each of us in this room has interests, hobbies, careers, and passions that are near and dear to us – I don’t know all of you yet – but I know many of you and I know that collectively we are at least interested in the arts, fashion, finance and business, law, media, science and journalism, … and I also know that we spend a huge amount of our collective resource fighting for human rights, and women and girls health; we are building schools and working on curriculums; we are supporting the arts and enriching the world through cultural programmes; we are trying to eradicate poverty and we are supporting worthy social enterprises that help change the way we do things. And, I am fairly certain that the environment receives the least amount of our collective attention, and yet, it is the ‘issue’ that binds all of our interests, and us together.

As my late friend and mentor Doug Tompkins said “There is no social justice on a dead planet.”

The richness of our world – of our living world – is disappearing, the antidote to which is – I believe – diversity. We need a diverse pool of talent and resource to come together and help rethink and reshape our future. Each of us is already doing this in some capacity, and we may even be doing it with other alliances – so here’s my ask: Can we please get better at including the natural world in our collective thinking and enterprise? Will you consider joining me on my quest to get much better at protecting our planet, so that it can still be one of abundance, flourishing with life?

We have the platform. But it needs much more energy.

So, in addition to all that you already do, will you support me? Will you join me?

I’m on this journey anyway, but in order to have a real impact, I would love your company.

Thank you.