The Great Societal U-turn to Responsibility

The Great Societal U-turn to Responsibility

Randy Hayes’ SFSU Honorary Doctorate Speech May 24, 2018 — AT&T Park — San Francisco, California Nature Needs Half incoming chair, Randy Hayes, of the Rainforest Action Network, was honored by San Francisco State University as an honorary doctorate. The time for change has come, now it’s our duty to lean in to it and embrace the “Great Societal U-Turn.” A wise professor taught that when our careers are attached to a greater cause — a more meaningful life emerges for each of us, for you. So after my masters at this very University I set out to support the rights of Indigenous peoples by starting Rainforest Action Network. We took on big power and still do. Though clearly I had a few things wrong as that work got me arrested about 19 times fighting the likes of the World Bank and world trade organizations. But hey Graduates, know we are still working that cause… In fact I’ve just recently returned from the rainforest visiting tribes with bold plans to protect the headwaters of the mighty Amazon. This ongoing work helped earned me an Honorary Doctorate today. I thank the University for this Recognition. Canoeing up to the Jaguar Shaman’s village in Ecuador I thought of this day and all of us here. The tribal elders spoke. They know their forests house vast biodiversity of future foods and medicines. Rainforests drive massive hydrologic cycles helping to run this planet’s weather systems. They know if we lose the rainforests we could lose our mother ship. History and science tells us the planet’s natural systems are heavily damaged. Two hundred years...
Promise to Pachamama: Revisiting Bolivia’s Historic Law of the Rights of Mother Earth

Promise to Pachamama: Revisiting Bolivia’s Historic Law of the Rights of Mother Earth

Photo © Ken Treloar Written by Lee Brann When the passage of Bolivia’s Law of the Rights of Mother Earth was announced to the world in late 2010, international media described the new legislation in glowing terms — transformative, astonishing, unprecedented, a turning point. The law seemed to embody the revolutionary spirit of the social movements and mass gatherings that had ushered it into being. Bolivia’s Pacto de Unidad, the coalition of indigenous and campesino organizations that helped draft the legislation, represented a potent social force with an entirely new vision for Bolivia’s relationship to nature. The architects of the law were striving to upend a centuries-long period of environmental and social crisis in Bolivia, one in which nature’s welfare had been relentlessly undermined in favor of tin, silver, logging, and fossil fuels. To overturn this trend, bold legislative action was needed. Bolivia believed it had found a winning strategy in awarding nature itself the same legal rights as people. The 2006 election of Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, provided a rare opening for legal overhaul. Social movements like the 3.5 million-strong CSUTCB did the rest. The new law is modeled around the indigenous Andean appreciation for the earth deity Pachamama, viewed as the center of all life and believed to be entitled to fundamental rights, much like human beings. By granting legal rights to nature, the legislation is indeed among the most innovative environmental statutes in global history. In fact, by including the force of legal status for nature alongside a series of measures for promoting nature’s wellbeing, the law strongly resembles the type of policy initiative needed...
The Field Guide to Nature Needs Half: NGOs aren’t the only ones working to save the Amazon

The Field Guide to Nature Needs Half: NGOs aren’t the only ones working to save the Amazon

Photo © Antonio Briceño Click here to find the previous installment of the Nature Needs Half Field Guide to the Kayapo Project. This is the fifth installment of a five-part series featuring a partner project in the Nature Needs Half Network. Each installment will run weekly, and every month we will spotlight a different member of the Network to reveal how their work is connecting nature across the planet for the benefit of all life on Earth and to ensure that we achieve our goal of 50% protected by 2050. For more information about this project, please contact jackieb@natureneedshalf.org Summary: For the past fifteen years, Flashbay has been an environmentally minded company that specializes in manufacturing custom-brand promotional technology products. Now, they are taking on a new project. Hear from them about why they have chosen to help save one of the world’s last truly wild places: the Amazon rain forest.  Our Flashbay Family is passionate about helping to conserve the most valuable natural habitat on our planet: the Amazon rainforest. After very careful analysis of a multitude of non-governmental initiatives on conservation in this part of the world, the WILD Foundation’s approach stood out as the most common-sense based strategy. It recognizes the irrefutable connection between the forest and its indigenous inhabitants. In other words, long-term rainforest conservation can only be realistically sustained when taking a holistic view, incorporating the survival of rainforest habitat with direct support for its tribal people, at least wherever they still live. The Brazilian Constitution of 1988 effectively recognized indigenous people’s rights to practice their customs without pressure or outside interference to assimilate or integrate into mainstream Brazilian society. Article...
The Field Guide to Nature Needs Half: The Amazon is calling, will you pick up?

The Field Guide to Nature Needs Half: The Amazon is calling, will you pick up?

Photo © Rodrigo Salles, Untamed Angling Click here to find the previous installment of the Nature Needs Half Field Guide to the Kayapo Project. This is the fourth installment of a five-part series featuring a partner project in the Nature Needs Half Network. Each installment will run weekly, and every month we will spotlight a different member of the Network to reveal how their work is connecting nature across the planet for the benefit of all life on Earth and to ensure that we achieve our goal of 50% protected by 2050. For more information about this project, please contact jackieb@natureneedshalf.org Summary: Who does the Amazon belong to? As of this moment, the Kayapo steward much of the land there, but illegal industries are threatening to destroy this irreplaceable habitat that houses a third of Earth’s plants and animals. And that has consequences for all of us. If they Kayapo are to succeed, they need our help. Discover how you can become a part of the international team strengthening Kayapo territory and preserving the life-giving rainforest for all life on Earth. “Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit.” – Edward Abbey You wish to fill your belly so you head outside the protective ring of the village, down to where the land ends until you can go no further. Standing on the shore of the great river, its waters lapping against your bare toes, you face the current. You notice the fallen fragments of the forest, swift and glittering, sailing downstream before they vanish from your view altogether. Then you draw your weapon. Maybe it’s a...
The Field Guide to Nature Needs Half: The secret to saving the rainforest? Hint: It’s smaller than you think.

The Field Guide to Nature Needs Half: The secret to saving the rainforest? Hint: It’s smaller than you think.

Photo © Cristina Mittermeier Click here to find the previous installment of the Nature Needs Half Field Guide to the Kayapo Project. This is the third installment of a five-part series featuring a partner project in the Nature Needs Half Network. Each installment will run weekly, and every month we will spotlight a different member of the Network to reveal how their work is connecting nature across the planet for the benefit of all life on Earth and to ensure that we achieve our goal of 50% protected by 2050. For more information about this project, please contact jackieb@natureneedshalf.org Summary: Where do you find your power and independence? The Kayapo find theirs beneath the rainforest canopy. In this installment of the Nature Needs Half Field Guide to the Kayapo Project, discover how the gifts of nature can revive the autonomy of an entire culture.    In Kayapo lands, everyone knows the shape of the universe. It’s a wasp’s nest. No one has actually seen it of course. Nothing like that has happened since the time of the ancestors. In those days, before men descended to Earth on a rope cast through an opening in the bottom of the heavens, they gazed across the cosmos and noticed that it was a circle comprised of many delicate layers. Since then their children and their children’s children have guarded the memory of the ancestors’ knowledge in the shapes they fashion from day-to-day. See the sun-like corona of the men’s feathered headdresses? Notice the fields, round as a woman’s pregnant belly? And what about the villages themselves, with buildings carefully arranged in rings...
The Field Guide to Nature Needs Half: Kayapo Prowess – Could you defend a rainforest from deforestation without an iPhone?

The Field Guide to Nature Needs Half: Kayapo Prowess – Could you defend a rainforest from deforestation without an iPhone?

Photo © Martin Schoeller Find the first installment of the Nature Needs Half Field Guide to the Kayapo Project here. This is the second installment of a five-part series featuring a partner project in the Nature Needs Half Network. Each installment will run weekly, and every month we will spotlight a different member of the Network to reveal how their work is connecting nature across the planet for the benefit of all life on Earth and to ensure that we achieve our goal of 50% protected by 2050.   For more information about this project, please contact jackieb@natureneedshalf.org Summary:  A picture may be worth a thousand words but what if the picture is misleading and the words are inaccurate? In this installment of the Nature Needs Half Field Guide to the Kayapo Project, we get at the stunning truth that energizes the resilience and unwavering will of Chief Raoni and the Kayapo people to protect their land at all costs. Without the assistance of modern technology, Chief Raoni is relying on the help of NGOs. But attracting the attention of world leaders and experienced conservationists is difficult in the middle of a rainforest. How the Kayapo developed and sustain outside alliances is a critical component of their success and the subject of this blog.   When we left off last week, we had just begun to discuss the Kayapo’s incredible ability to leverage traditional skills and knowledge to defend their home and the rainforest from an amoral and technologically advanced foe. Given that information, few things could be more certain than the courage, resolve, and strategic sophistication of the Kayapo people...
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