Taking care of our planet is an act of self-defence against the challenges of a changing climate says Kelvin Davies, Founder of the Rainforest 4 Foundation.
In the early 1990s, I spent several years engaged in a campaign to stop the importation of rainforest timbers into Australia. That led me to have personal conversations about the ecosystems that sustains our living planet with people of all walks of life. The air we breathe, the water cycle, the liveable climate and the food that sustains us, all have a connection to biodiversity and functioning ecosystems. Of all the people I spoke with, most supported the concept of rainforest conservation but didn’t know what they could do. They perceived power as being in the hands of the political class, with a view that political expediency ruled the day.
Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world”. Taking responsibility for your own actions is not hard to do. Despair can lead to empowerment. And the more you are involved in positive solutions, the easier it is for them to be achieved and for you to believe they're possible.
In the past year, one of history’s most important scientists, James Lovelock, died at the age of 103. Originally ridiculed, his theory that the Earth behaves as a living ecosystem is now accepted. Towards the end of his long life, Lovelock issued a final warning to humanity. He could see a future where a changed global climate made large parts of the planet uninhabitable, resulting in immense human suffering. A stark warning from someone who, at the age of 103, had no stake in the game.
Fear and anxiety about climate change are not misplaced. Once uncommon, extreme weather events are reported constantly in one part of the world or another. Every day brings news of another species lost or on the brink. There must be a tipping point beyond which we will turn it all around. We can’t wait for someone else to do something.
Taking personal responsibility is essential and it must be aligned with sustained, systemic change. The way we organise society, and how our values are expressed, must change. In response to the biodiversity and climate crisis, we need to organise ourselves. We need practical projects with tangible outcomes; proposals with solutions that are not pushed beyond the horizon; actions that we can take today that are achievable, with goodwill shared amongst caring people.
In the past four years, we’ve purchased 29 rainforest properties so they can be protected and managed for conservation. That’s averaging one property acquisition every six weeks – a clear and positive demonstration that change is possible.
On one of the Daintree properties we acquired, we found the Green Dinosaur. This plant can be found in the fossil record as far back as 88 million years ago and it has a lineage extending back to the first existence of flowering plants on Earth. It has survived all this time in the Daintree rainforest. Its continued existence is linked to a stable climate. Now we are faced with the challenge, sustaining the climate of the living planet.
We found the Green Dinosaur on one of the properties we acquired.
All is not lost. My optimism comes from the positive attributes of humanity – compassion, generosity, altruism, and a shared belief that the world can be a better place. As a founder, my role is to be the one who believes (even when a task may seem impossible). Having faith and belief in people is essential, and my belief is sustained by your ongoing support.
For humanity, destroying nature is an act of self-harm. Preserving nature is an act of self-defence. Let’s continue to take great care of ourselves and the living planet. They’re one and the same.
I'm pleased to share with you our Impact Report for 2023. Over the past year, you have helped purchase and protect another 7 rainforest properties for conservation. We've added the Impact Report to our website so that you can easily access and read it here.