How can we help our planet?

Thousand-year old trees being cut today in Canada to make timber got me think

Thousand-year old trees are being cut daily in Canada to make timber. Timber for construction can be sustainable instead of devastating forests.

This is happening today as reported by the instagram account Fairy Creek Blockade where a group of conscious people are protecting the forest by literally blocking access to the corporation trying to cut them.

I am clearly not the first one thinking about this or the environment, it just made me so sad I decided to share some thoughts. I am not perfect with my own behavior protecting nature but I am more and more conscious about it and trying to improve. We all harm the planet in a way or another to a different degree every single day. It matters to be aware of it and do it consciously instead of taking it for granted. This email is longer than usual it might be clipped in your gmail the online version is here.

Spending time in the Amazon forest and the Mexican jungle made me very sensitive to the magic of trees. It takes so long for such a tree to grow and a very special environment around it. Hundreds of years. We cut them in a matter of minutes while it could be sustainably harvested.

We’re killing our forests, that’s a very well known fact. 19% of the Amazon forest disappeared. 20% might be a tipping point after which the forest will disappear.

“If the tree mortality we see continues for another 10–15 years, then the southern Amazon will turn into a savannah”

Same tragedy in the Ocean. 50% of the World’s Coral reef died in the last 5 to 10 years.

It is less obvious to look at the Ocean as the killing happens under our sight. We don’t see it so we don’t think about it.

We already almost destroyed the “rainforest of the sea”, the coral reef.

I just watched the documentary “Chasing Coral” on Netflix which I recommend.

You could also get a simple snorkeling mask, head to any coral spot in the world and see for yourself. It will likely be either completely white (bleached) which means it’s dying or black (completely dead). We might not be able to see any coral alive soon.

Why does it matter? Coral is a whole ecosystem. No coral means the fish will also disappear with a massive impact.

Deforestation and the coral tragedy are both mostly due to global warming because of our own behavior and global consumerism.

Why don’t we care more about the 10M+ that die from air pollution every year and why do Governments don’t take initiatives like they did for the 3.5M Covid deaths? Is it because air pollution doesn’t threaten immediately their economy (restaurants, shops, hotels closed..) or is it really to care about human lives?

The coral is also disappearing in Tulum mostly because of hotel waste (and sunscreen, drugs or medication flushed in toilets…) see this great video about it, Tulum is one of the most beautiful and special places in the world with thousands of “cenotes” (water caves) resulting from meteorite impact millions of years ago.

What can we individually do about it?

  1. Be conscious and aware about everything we do, constantly, even the smallest things. Change our habits.

We are one with Earth, the animals, the trees, the plants, the ocean life. Everything we do has an impact.

Do we recycle plastic and other recyclable material? Can we reduce our plastic consumption?

If we stay in a hotel, does it treat its waste properly, as seen in the above Tulum video?

Food. Has the chicken we eat been raised in a cage and never seen the Sun light? How was this vegetable grown? What chemicals were put on it? Where did it travel from?

How much planet resources do we use each day? How much water? How much fuel? How much pollution do we contribute in releasing?

I am aware that each time I take a flight I release carbon in the atmosphere. My friend Fred Wilson suggests offsetting each flight with Flight Logger. A trip NY>LA is about $7. I wonder why all airlines just don’t include this in each ticket price already.

  1. Spread the word around you

Talking about this is important. This is why I write this today. We don’t even know what is actually happening very often. We need to talk about the old trees cut for timber and maybe there is enough pressure they stop one day.

Each time we see an abuse to the planet, let’s talk about it and share it.

Is there a website where we could report abuse as we report an accident on Waze? If not we should create one.

Let’s talk about the way we can improve how we live daily. If we all do a small change it will be a larger scale improvement for the planet. Let’s remind each other of our interconnectedness with Nature.

  1. Avoid buying anything that we know destroys the planet

Red meat and dairy products come immediately to mind. In order to get our burgers and rib-eye steaks to our favorite restaurants or supermarkets we need lots of cattle. To feed the cattle we need a huge quantity of corn and soil. To produce soil large companies deforest the Amazon and grow soil instead. Your supermarket buys meat from these companies then you buy that meat without knowing.

There should be a label, like “smoking kills” on cigaret packs that says “this meat killed trees” or something like that.

Here is a great story on the companies behind deforestation and charts with their brands. You will find brands you might buy from right here.

Here is a ranking of the top 10 companies contributing to deforestation beyond or including the meat issue.

Cargill, BlackRock, Wilmar International Ltd., Walmart, JBS, Ikea, Korindo Group PT, Yakult Honsha Co. Ltd., Starbucks and McDonald’s…

Did you think about it before buying that affordable furniture from Ikea? Did you know about this before buying a coffee from Starbucks or Walmart?

Do we even need these things?

Again, we can’t be perfect and we all contribute. I reduced my meat consumption from almost every day (I know) to a steak every week or two and I try to avoid it. I try to know where it’s from when the information is available but generally it’s not. I love red meet so it’s hard for me. I am working on it and I hope we can identify the source of meat and the cattle food source better.

I welcome the two companies making products that “feel like meat but aren’t” like Beyond Meat or Impossible food and hope they are more widely available. Their products get criticism though on how processed they are. Soon there will be meat made in lab. Let’s see.

  1. buy sustainable, environment friendly and good for the body products or services

There are thousand of websites and labels, it is difficult to understand it.

There is an Amazon of healthy living, Thrive Market. Why doesn’t Amazon itself launch a label inside its catalog showcasing the good products?

There are many products to chose from but it’s difficult to know which ones are really good for the environment and for ourselves.

I invested in LXMI (@lxmi)that Leila Janah created, an organic and fair trade skincare product line I encourage you to try. Good for the body and the planet.

  1. Join support groups or non profits that help raise awareness

More people bring more awareness and help media talk about it. We can see it happening with the Ferry Blockade on Instagram gathering thousands of people.

Here are a few on instagram, please suggest more in comments?

@fairycreekblockade - old trees in Canada I talked about above
@yorenka.tasorentsi, website - Ashaninka effort to plant millions of trees in deforested land
@for.the.wild land defense
@amazonwatch protecting the Amazon forest
@treesisters_official women volunteers planting trees
@seedevolution solutions through art and reforestation

  1. donate

I have chosen to support the indigenous in the Amazon Forest (Yawanawá, Ashaninka) and Amazon Watch, there are many organizations to support.

  1. take it to the companies that abuse the planet and governments

This is a complex one but contacting the management of these companies seems obvious. I tweeted once to the CEO of the French supermarket E.Leclerc and never got an answer while Michel-Edouard Leclerc is very active on Twitter.

I guess if enough of us complain in public it could create some change.

pic: trash island in Maldives. How many tourists know it exists when they visit Maldives? How many complained about it or decided to go elsewhere because the Government acts this way?

  1. Inform yourself

Watch these movies & books (please suggest more in comments)

some movies
Cowespiracy (a MUST watch if you haven’t)
Seaspiracy (same about the Ocean)
Toxic Beauty
A life on our planet
Kiss the soil
Chasing coral

some books
How soon is now? from my friend Daniel Pinchbeck
The hidden life of trees
The inner life of animals

  1. Consumerim

We don’t need most of the things we are told we do. Think before buying anything at all. Because almost everything we buy will end up some day as trash.

Recycle, up-cycle and exchange with your friends and local communities. I recently heard about the “closet swaps” that women in conscious communities host regularly to exchange clothes with each other to avoid buying new ones. I will be honest, I don’t do closet swaps but I buy very few new clothes (and much less of everything really) compared to what I used to.

  1. Teach our children

If every person teaches children not to trash anything in the ocean for example and respect nature we can raise a new generation of conscious children that will change the world.

How important is environment in any education system? I had none as I grew up, my guess is it is still small. But we can all educate the children around us to love and care for our planet.

It seems that the new generations of children already come wired-in this way, caring more than most of us did as children. There was less global emergency awareness about the current ecological disaster that we are living. Think Greta and other children activists.

  1. help expand consciousness

The core of the issue is that we have lost the understanding that we are inter-connected. If we become more conscious we change our behavior. Let’s remind each other that we are part of nature we are not separate.

Every time we destroy anything on Earth we destroy ourselves.

Whenever we can raise consciousness by talking about it, hosting talks, writing about it, gather people around it. Each person needs to change themselves, and maybe also be guides and teachers to others.

  1. Listen to nature

Nature is declining at rates unprecedented in history, humans are killing the biodiversity.

We may soon live in a world with only humans and the animals we chose to keep for our food or pets.

What can we do to listen more? I highly recommend spending more time in nature. The time I spent in the Amazon forest and my spiritual work with vision quest got me more aware how important it all is.

  1. Travel less

Every time humans move, it creates waste from the mode of transportation etc. Can we learn to stay still? Do we need to travel that much? Covid has shown we can avoid it. Will the habit of zoom meetings instead instead of business travel become a habit?

Please add your own initiatives, ideas or suggestions in comments, thank you.

I also write a much more frequent newsletter with regular group zoom calls focused on learning spirituality at yawa.news if you feel like reading me more. Next zoom call is this upcoming sunday.

Magdalena Sartori contributed to this post, she originated the Yin Institute, a “modern temple for the feminine”.

I also published the below video on my YouTube and Instagram also audio on my podcast.

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