Rob de Laet: Dedicated to this purpose

Rob de Laet: Core Board member of World Climate School and indispensable WCS teacher.

Rob is living in the Brazilian rainforest, and has a deep knowledge about the importance of the Amazon for the survival of us all, and he has dedicated a large part of his time as a full time climate activist and Earth Protector to work for Saving the Amazon.

This is the reason that World Climate School also has has decided to make fighting the destruction of the Amazon one of our most important focal points. And the reason we have chosen the image of the two loving parrots in the rainforest our main symbol.

This is Rob introducing the importance of saving the Amazon rainforest:

The destruction of  the  Amazon is  a  major global environmental issue, not  only because of  greenhouse gas emissions or direct impacts on biodiversity and livelihoods, but also due to the forest’s role as a tipping element in the Earth System. With nearly a fifth of the Amazon already lost, there are already signs of an imminent forest die-back process that risks transforming much of the rainforest into a drier ecosystem, with dramatic implications across the globe for both the world food situation and the global climate. Stopping the destruction and regenerating the forest is vital for future of life on our beautiful living planet.

Pitch for Saving the Amazon:

1. The Amazon rainforest is nearing the tipping point of die-back. Once the die-back threshold is crossed, the die-back will be self-amplifying and large parts of the forest will self-destruct within a few decades (Prof Nobre/Lovejoy, last chance for action)

2. The die-back would be an ecocide of the most bio-diverse area in the world and a de facto genocide for the over 30 million indigenous and other peoples living there. It would also trigger huge famines, food price spikes and social unrest around the world because large parts of South America would dry out, leading to severe crop failures. Less known is that weather patterns over the US would also change dramatically, diminishing food production there as well. Much of the world depends on food produced in these two regions. 

3. The die-back would trigger megafires, possibly adding 200-300 Gigatons of CO2 to the already overburdened atmosphere, while destroying a biome that has the potential capacity to sequester up to 3 Gt of CO2 per year. This would put any chance of restricting the Paris Climate Accord goal of a max 2 degree average temperature rise completely out of reach.  

4. Stopping deforestation immediately and regenerating the forest already destroyed would avoid the tipping point, but only if action is taken on a large enough scale. Key is connecting the unconnected indigenous peoples and other communities through mobile phones to satellites and connecting them directly to a pipeline of carbon credits based on biomass increase measurements from space.

5. It is possible to create a socio-bio-economy based on indigenous knowledge and stewardship combined with modern science and ICT. The benefits for the local economy would be substantial, increasing over the next ten years to possibly as much as ten times the current one. But first we need to invest in supporting infrastructure to underpin this new economy.

6. To start up the transformation from destruction to a sustainable bioeconomy, the world starts to provide 1 million people living in the Amazon an income to protect and regenerate the forest, its cultures and create a modern bioeconomy. Initial costs would be about 1 billion USD per month, decreasing fast as the forest and the bioeconomy gain strength and carbon credits kick in. Arara 1.docx shows the digital architecture outline to get this done. Building it is an urgent priority. 

7. The start up or seed money would be provided by the US. President Biden has already promised $US 20 billion to save the Amazon. The EU may be persuaded to contribute as well to keep the 1,5 C line. The next phase would be a huge investment round involving private investors, youths and others and connecting the forest economy to carbon credits, based on satellite measurements. This would need to be one of the commitments made by world leaders and businesses at the COP 26 Climate Summit in Glasgow later this year. 

8. On top of the bioeconomy, a new, cutting edge economy will arise. Amazonia 4.0 will be based on a combination of modern and ancient science and technology. The result will be a new  state-of-the-art knowledge economy in the decades ahead. This will turn Brazil and other Amazon nations into global examples of thriving sustainable economies. Here is a beautiful taster of biomimicry which shows where this could go. 

The Amazon will draw the whole world together, in particular its youth, to embrace this project of hope for a sustainable future. The emergence of an ecological civilization based on reconnecting with nature, combined with advanced technology will light up the path for the world to emerge from the darkness of the climate and biodiversity crises.

9. A large part of the plan involves actually weaving together what is already out there, because we have tens of thousands of people, projects, NGO’s, institutions, companies and more who have great ideas, are full of passion and are already doing things to improve the situation. So creating an Amazon Network Platform and inviting all the change makers in, will make a speedy transformation possible. 

Here is a short video about how the Amazon and our future are linked

And here is a link to the full plan for the Amazon region. 

Finally, enjoy this video from BBC about the relationship between the parrots and the rainforest: Sometimes humans need to help them heal and survive and return to their natural habitat.

Ok, it´s the rainforest in Guatemala, but it might as well have been in Brazil.

The final words from Rob.

Thank you for reading this introduction. I hope to hear about your role in the preservation of the great forest and the future of our kids. Hope to hear from you soon.

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