December 16, 2016
Hello all you worldchangers,The year is slowly coming to an end - it’s time to look back, learn, grow and plan ahead. There are so many small wonders happening in pockets of SCI activism around the world. Groups of volunteers without much resources, experience or support are dreaming big and acting strong! You are planting trees to protect your communities from climate change, creating gardens to bring people back their dignity, bringing together people from different sides of the barricades to make your communities stronger… Every day there is something amazing and unimaginable happening all over the world…and that’s thanks to you.So as you read the updates below about difficulties in taking action, climate refugees, Arctic ice and communities taking back their forests, remember that you are also a part of the solution. And this newsletter is always waiting for news from you, so be proud and spread them across all SCI branches (write to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Can we save the world?
“Why are we not acting to save the world? Could it be that we simply don’t know how? Typically, we know the sorts of things that need to be done. What we don’t know is how to get humanity to act, even when we know that we must.
We need systems whereby not only idealists behave properly. We trivialize the future of the world by reducing it to small personal actions like daily recycling and transportation choices, without implementing systems that make good choices generic.
The feeble attempts to ‘solve’ the most important issues of our times are ludicrously out of proportion to the challenges we face. Is it possible to get humanity to take necessary and sufficient action in time?” Don’t expect to find the answer, but rather more questions that can be great discussion points during a study part here: “Can We Save The World?” (MAHB)
A “Road of Fire” away from climate change
“The world dismisses them as economic migrants. The law treats them as criminals who show up at a nation’s borders uninvited. Prayers alone protect them on the journey across the merciless Sahara.
But peel back the layers of their stories and you find a complex bundle of trouble and want that prompts the men and boys of West Africa to leave home, endure beatings and bribes, board a smuggler’s pickup truck and try to make a living far, far away.” And, yes, climate change has a lot to do with it.
Learn more about climate refugees, read stories of individuals making the difficult decision to leave their homes because of increasingly difficult conditions. With climate change becoming more serious with every passing day, we can only expect more people to set out in search of livable new home. This is a great call to action for SCI volunteers - through workcamps and community projects, we can improve this situation. “Heat, Hunger and War Force Africans Onto a ‘Road on Fire’” (New York Times)
On This Ice
“A daring 2015 expedition that collected rare measurements of the Arctic in winter found that sea ice near the North Pole was thinner and weaker than expected. The team had to move its operations several times because of instability in the ice floes where it camped.
Thirty years ago, the majority of the winter ice in the Arctic ocean was thick multi-year ice that grew over multiple winters. But now, more than three-quarters of the ocean in late winter is covered by much younger and thinner first-year ice.” “Incredibly thin Arctic sea ice shocks researchers” (Nature.com)
You can also learn more about retrieving glaciers from a TEDTalk delivered by photographer James Balog who presented time-lapse images collected with the Extreme Ice Survey team. This is some of the most vivid evidence of climate change impacts. “Time-lapse proof of extreme ice loss” (19:22 min)
Taking back their forest!
“The women of the Khond community, a large indigenous tribal group of India, relied for generations on a rich and diverse variety of native millets and foraged jungle foods. But the state forest department proposed that forest lands be cleared for cash crops like teak, eucalyptus, soy, and cotton. Traditionally, adivasis had grown mixed varieties of crops to maintain soil fertility. They stored and exchanged seeds after each harvest to ensure local adaptability and availability. Then they watched with dismay as industrial tree plantations converted a once diverse forest ecosystem into a single-species cash crop.
The women of Khalpadar have risen to block destructive development. They have held meetings with officials and other villages to find consensus to save their forests. When officials repeatedly refused to listen, villagers cut down the cash crops and planted their own traditional crops. The organization has also recently launched a school project in which children learn from farmers to identify, grow, and cook traditional foods. In many districts, newly established tribal food festivals bring together adivasi communities to exchange ideas, information, and seeds.” “They Lost Their Jungles to Plantations, But These Indigenous Women Grew Them Back” (Yes! Magazine)