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weLOG #29 Looking Ahead

Updated: Mar 17, 2023

2023 is way in and a lot to look forward to! Research! Projects! and more!

We stepped into the new year with a three-pillar framework, which I wanna share with you at this time. So let's goooo!


Tangible forest impact

In this area, the focus is tree planting and any actions and projects associated with forest regeneration and protection with the goal of getting involved in as many projects of the kind as possible. The success of the ongoing Ghana project allowed us to gain experience and see how to engage in these efficiently while having the biggest impact possible. In the other words, we’re reading to get our hands dirty. We will be diversifying the scope of the projects we undertake, as well as diversifying in the area of gaining funding - we anticipate that the funding for these, will come predominantly from businesses, as the trajectory has been.


Communication & raising awareness

We’re going to continue on the trajectory we’re currently on, with regular newsletters and blog posts. Moreover, specifically in Japan, we’re going to pour a significant amount of energy into organizing offline events, as we see great potential in engaging this way with those who already have a presence in the environmental work and those who are curious about the state of our planet and forests.


Systems change and research

Ultimately, if we look at the big picture, in order for deforestation to stop, there will have to be some significant changes on the system levels, globally. What would they be? Would it concern international and/or national laws? Would it mean changing the way we THINK of forests and overall, natural resources? This pillar of focus is about us diving deeper into research around existing national and regional laws that are addressing deforestation, as well as new laws being introduced. For instance, it can be made difficult (through the power of policy) for individuals, companies, and governments to engage in activities that are detrimental to the survival of primary forests. An example of this can be the new Environment Act introduced in the UK, provisions of which attempt to address deforestation caused by the consumption of “forest risk commodities” such as beef, palm oil, soy, coffee, cocoa, and rubber. Can companies do due diligence themselves? How? Is it effective? There are many ways to look into this and it is going to be the third pillar of focus, ultimately seeing how we can be involved in these processes.

teaMORI SPOTLIGHT


What would you create if you closed your eyes and could create a more beautiful world (whatever that means to you)?


Swetha:

“It would be a world with a balance between green space and technological development. Uncongested roads and fewer cars, a neighbourhood with accessibility to most necessities and more community spaces and activities. In simple terms - a modern eco-friendly world.”


Kenny:

“A more beautiful world to me is simple. It’s one without sickness, greed, envy, hate and one where people helped each other more. This would translate to a lot of positives. The ripple effect from each of these would lead to a more beautiful world.”

AROUND THE WORLD 🌏

by Kenny



A BROKEN SYSTEM

“Deforestation and biodiversity loss continue to be a real and present danger in Nicaragua. What is happening in Nicaragua? The country’s two largest biosphere reserves, Bosawás and Indio Maíz, continue to see significant loss each year. The land is being cleared at an alarming rate. In 2022 it is estimated to have seen an even higher loss than 2021, which supposedly had “its third-highest level of tree cover loss in 10 years”.

So, what is the driving force behind this? The land is being cleared for things such as cattle ranching, mining, and logging. Ranching is a key contributing factor to deforestation. Beef is a major export product for the country but it often comes with challenges and is also not properly regulated. According to one indigenous rights advocate in Bosawás, “If a rancher comes and takes up a thousand acres near a community, that community loses access to hunting, fishing, and even clean water sources”. Everyone is looking to survive but unfortunately, survival comes at the expense of others or the environment. If locals protest or speak out against the current system, they do so at their own peril.

Another challenge comes with trade sanctions being imposed on the country. It forces the government to rely on gold mining which is counterintuitive to environmental protection measures. So, this again adds to a broken system. People are consumed by their need to survive and focusing on the bigger picture is not easy to do when one is in survival mode. It’s a vicious cycle in a broken system.


ABANDONED SHIP

Undoubtedly, once seen as a prized possession, this 34,000-ton aircraft carrier is now seen as a bone of contention for some, the biggest piece of trash and possibly the most toxic in the ocean.

The Brazilian navy vessel, The São Paulo, has been at the center of an international dispute because of its toxic contents. Having no further use for this 60-year-old vessel, Brazil sold it to a Turkish shipyard in 2021. In August 2022, the vessel left Brazil for Turkey but then Turkey rescinded its permission to allow this vessel to dock in its ports due to the possible toxic material that still remained onboard. Brazil doesn’t want it back but Turkey won’t allow it to enter its ports so the vessel was left abandoned in international waters. This is however not a viable solution. So, what is it? It seems one proposed solution to this international dispute is to sink this 870-ft aircraft carrier. This violates several international treaties, but more importantly, sinking this carrier poses a huge threat to the environment. Think of all the toxins that would be released, impacting not just life below water but life on land as well. So, how should this be treated? Whatever solution arrived at, sinking it is not an option without significant repercussions.


ACCOUNTABILITY & WAR REPARATIONS

Azerbaijan is requesting reparations from Armenia for damage caused to the environment and biodiversity during their occupation of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Azerbaijan has brought forward this legal challenge under the Bern Convention. It's the first of its kind and if they win, it will set a precedent for putting an economic value on the damage done to biodiversity and the environment.

With the increased loss of biodiversity and damage to the environment being a global concern, such a case could significantly impact the way forward. It would help change the behaviour of state actors and encourage those involved to rethink their actions and destruction of the environment. It would be an example of how states should view and protect biodiversity loss, even in times of war.


WHAT WE'RE READING

  • Impact on rapeseed output due to the new German plan on biofuel production Read here

  • A battle for Overlap zones between two energy giants Read here

  • Can the world ‘halt and reverse’ biodiversity loss by 2030? Read here

  • Coffee pod carbon footprint better for the planet than filtered brew Read here

  • A new study reveals that previously logged forests are carbon sources even during recovery Read here

  • Reforesting the Amazon with Miyawaki method Read here



There you have it, dear friends!


The new framework is here! Does it mean we do all differently and start completely new things? Not necessarily. It just helps us keep focused and organized, continuing the work in a similar manner from the last year, adding new areas of focus or expanding on others.

Thank you always for sticking with us and happy to travel with you throughout yet another year!


To the biggest impact, we can have!


Till next time!


Joanna Arai


💛


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