No Climate Action No Peace

No Climate Action No Peace

"That is the great burden that rests upon […] who is involved in the telling of stories: to us falls the task of imaginatively restoring agency and voice to non-humans." Amitav Ghosh, The Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis. 

Why did we declare war on nature?

We live in an Earth-System, where interactions form the essentials of our day. From the pebble in your running shoe to the trekker you wave at, at the peak of the mountain, nature constituents will find their way to you.

Those relationships weren’t always peaceful. But even in their dramatic consequences, when violence toward humans and nature seemed to overpower, there was an ear to capture the signals and transmit them. Through communication, the possibility of haven was never completely removed. But now, there’s nowhere left to flee violence, nowhere on lands, nowhere among humans, not even in our minds. Yet, more than ever peace is needed.

Peace is not only about bringing safety but also ensuring a fair distribution of prosperity. We cannot refute that our fates are deeply entangled with that of our ecosystems. We will thrive with them or collapse altogether. (Peace cannot happen if we fail to remember that nature was never an enemy to tame. That it is an ally of our self-discoveries. That its gifts are generous enough to provide for us all if we learn how to make the best use of it.)

In our reality of walls and distorted priorities, attention shifts. The sounds we were so naturally aware of have become muted as we have alienated ourselves from the web of living things. The temperature rises and soils overflow with toxins, yet, they keep speaking to us, keen for contact and reunion. Climate Action Live offers to be this missing collective ear. It is an invitation to welcome to the voices of nature, caring politics and resilient economics. Let’s hear what they have to say:

“We know that Mother Earth is crying. And we know that Mother Earth does not need us to save her. All she needs is for us to respect her.”

Nemonte Nenquimo and Mitch Anderson, co-founders of the Ceibo Alliance and Amazon Frontlines, lead a unique mission to safeguard the Amazon rainforest. They work with indigenous nations and global allies against threats like oil drilling, illegal logging, and mining. They champion an unusual approach to environmentalism; channelling amazonian communities’ dreams for their homeland as a driver to their fighting spirit. They promote education for women as catalyst for these aspirations to become political action. In 2023, their efforts resulted in a popular referendum to ban oil drilling in Yasuni National Park, mobilising a strong majority, 60% of the Ecuadorian voters to act to preserve life in one of the most biodiverse forests on Earth. A huge success and a powerful testimony in favour of inclusive activism. Nemonte thinks of herself as a human mirror of Earth, reflecting the hopes for her children to thrive yet suffering at the uncertainty of their future. She explains the tremendous impacts of the global North’s action on indigenous people and land. Our daily choices are an immense force. It is a great lever, right now falling on their heads and draining them but that could be converted into an uplifting one. By reducing consumption and cherishing Earth’s gifts, she says, we will embark on meaningful climate action. (Her plea: global solidarity in protecting the Amazon rainforest and indigenous culture. )

“Plastic is at war with nature. That puts us at war with nature”

Sîan, co-founder of A Plastic Planet, is fighting to end plastic pollution. It is an environmental issue and a threat to health. The chemicals imbued in micro and nano-plastics attack hormonal systems, impacting fertility, and favouring cancers and auto-immune diseases. Concern is rising, Sian highlights their efforts at UN Global Plastic Treaty negotiations. Plastic is a gateway to climate action, she says, because it taps right into the topic of consumption and production. A Plastic Planet’s focus extends beyond clean-up efforts to advocating for new materials and innovations that can replace toxic plastics, which have profound impacts on human health. Sîan shares her excitement; what are we going to invent instead? What about the materials we haven’t imagined yet? She asks. The future of design is an enticing challenge, and a call for a circular economy inspired by natural systems. There, waste is non-existent, as everything is given back to life as nutrients rich in potentiality. This approach contrasts sharply with current practices where plastics, inherently toxic and difficult to degrade, persist as environmental hazards worldwide. The call to action is clear: industry and governments must accelerate efforts to innovate and adopt sustainable materials, moving away from the dependence on harmful plastics that threaten both human health and ecological balance.

“Transformation happens globally, systemically, because everyone is on board. It's this shackle at the ankle”

Sebastian Copeland is a polar explorer and climate advocate. Trailing the poles, he witnessed first-hand how complex and delicate the beauty of it is. The poles, despite their impermeability to settlements are points where human action is absorbed and distilled into a global force. The polar regions are Earth’s early warning system, where minute temperature shifts disrupt a network of carefully-balanced systems from the Arctic to the Antarctic, announcing global changes. Sebastian explains that the planet is not unfamiliar with temperature changes. It goes through millenar cycles of cold and warm due to Earth’s natural movements in space. What happens now is not part of it but caused by us, the anthropoi. The 1.5-degree target is a fragile lifeline, fraying under current trajectories toward 2.5 to 2.9 degrees, and with increasingly dramatic consequences. Climate change has no passport he says, indeed, what we choose to do or not do will eventually come back to us in the most unexpected form.

As livelihoods are put under increasing pressure to the point of devastation, climate change fuels political unrest by triggering fear of the unknown. Copeland advocates for a collaboration between governments, firms and consumers, each of us wielding the power to steer toward a sustainable and more peaceful horizon.

On the Earthship there are no passengers, only a crew

Yes, the amount of change needed is colossal and the stakes are higher than ever. The efforts of one will not suffice, but that’s not what is asked of us. Once and for all, we are not alone. Around and among us, there are so many voices eager to carry their message and to provide guidance to who is determined to listen to them. What did we listen to, from 2024 Climate Action Live?

— Pay attention: nature is around you, and you are part of it, if you listen to it, you will gain knowledge about yourself too. Nemonte says that the less you know about something, the easier it is to destroy it. We say the more you know yourself the more you can protect it.

— Be the squeaky wheel: refuse to conform and make that refusal heard. For Sîan, this demonstration starts at work where so much power is ours, where we have the leverage to cave in the gates for a regenerative world.

— Be curious: prepare yourself for what’s to come, encourages Sebastian. By learning and teaching you will support the vision. With knowledge, you will be able to step in with your heart and ears wide open.

It is doubtful that sustainability arguments can win the cause for their own sake, but our attempts to lead a good, meaningful life will. Right now, we can take an active part in the Conversation we are all concerned by and play a role in the unfolding of the story. As the ship sails, we can choose whether to remain docked or take the oars for a grand tour. As we like to think in sports, it is from effort that most pleasure comes.

Further readings