During 2018 I focused a lot of my attention on spreading awareness about lifestyle solutions that we can implement to fight deforestation and climate change. Those solutions were mostly focused around reducing our consumption and eliminating unnecessary waste : minimalism. We talked a lot about our food since currently our diets are one of the major drivers of deforestation and even greenhouse gas emissions. People are becoming increasingly aware that we can, and should reduce or eliminate our consumption of animal products. Palm oil gets a lot of attention in the environmental communities, but I tried to make it clear that we should reduce our oil consumption in general, since the alternatives to palm oil are also using a lot of land.
The limitations of boycott
While I was talking about these and other lifestyle changes, I was completely aware that these types solutions, as useful and necessary as they are, would never be enough to solve the ecological crisis. Boycotting destructive industries is necessary, but insufficient. Even if we manage to boycott a certain product completely that doesn’t mean that the industry is not going to find another way to exploit the resources of the forest. In fact, we can be certain that they will. Whether we decide to boycott meat, palm or timber, the forest still has a lot of resources that are “waiting” to be extracted and turned into profit. If there are no laws and treaties regulating, limiting and outlawing the kinds of production that are allowed our efforts will be in vain. I’ll keep on promoting all these minimalistic strategies, but during 2019 I’m going to focus much more on political solutions. I’m not a politician and probably you aren’t one either, so how are we going to do this?
Voting is absolutely necessary, but it’s not a sufficient solution either. The industries are putting a lot of money and energy in order to influence our politicians. We, the people who vote for them, need to also try to influence their actions, and voting is clearly not enough, but we should use its leverage. We don’t have as much money as giant corporations, but we are the ones who elect the politicians, and they should communicate with us, if they wish to remain in power.
Every politician should be held accountable by the people who elected them. I never tried to engage directly with my elected officials, except when I’m signing a petition of course. I’m going to try to communicate with my representatives, on local, state, and federal (EU in my case) level and try to lobby for action on the environmental issues that I find important. I’ll be sharing my experience with you and I’ll try to provide you with the tools, ideas and motivation to help you communicate better with your politicians. Most of my followers are voting for left or green parties, and it’s extremely important that we pressure these politicians into real action, since usually they are the ones who pay lip service to the environmental issues.
I know that there are some conservatives who also follow my pages, because they are also passionate about the forests and are worried about their ongoing destruction. I’m going to try to encourage them to do the same with their elected officials and push them to take action on environmental issues. For the moment center and right leaning parties are getting away with completely ignoring the ecological crisis, and this can’t go on. We should try to see how we can push all of the political parties to take action on the most pressing environmental issues. If you’re a conservative you probably won’t agree the solutions that I propose to my politicians, and that’s fine. I would love to hear what solutions you can put forward to your elected officials. Maybe you’ll come with completely different types of solutions than the ones that I’m thinking about. And if you don’t have concrete proposals, I encourage you to start communicating with your officials and ask them what they are counting to do to solve the issues that you care most deeply about. We can, and should, debate and argue about the solutions, but it’s absolutely crucial that every political party understands that they can’t ignore the ecological crisis and remain relevant. Maybe you don’t believe in climate change, maybe you do, but there are so many other issues that you could care about, talk about them with the people you vote for.
Where do we start
The European Union is currently asking us for this kind of communication. They have published they roadmap for fighting deforestation and they are asking us for our opinion on the solutions that they are putting forward. We can submit our comments and ideas until January 15th. I’ll share my opinion on their roadmap in the coming days. I would love to hear your thoughts about the kinds of policies that could reduce our burden on the forests. I believe that my comments on the roadmap of the EU could be useful to my American followers as well. We can’t leave policy making in the hands of the lobbyists. The trees and the Earth need someone to speak on their behalf, and we have to step in.