This is a view of fires burning in the Brazilian state of Para on August 20, 2019. Image courtesy of Planet Labs Inc. and the Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science.
1. Fund Forest Protection
Let’s start with the most direct route. One of the most effective organisations to contribute to is the Rainforest Trust. Their project in the Peruvian Amazon supports the local indigenous communities to getting recognised as having land rights and is seeking to give the title for more than 6 million acres to 220 communities. An acre of rainforest can be protected for a donation of $0.76 and 100% of your project gift directly funds vital conservation action.
The Indigenous peoples of Amazonia have lived in a symbiotic way with the rainforest for Millenia. They are the keepers of deep knowledge about the eco-systems they live within and are indispensable to its effective protection. Protecting the rights of indigenous people and their land claims in the Amazon can be one of the most effective ways of halting deforestation.
Amazon Watch is a pioneer in this area and has been working to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin for the last twenty years. It partners with indigenous and environmental organizations in campaigns for human rights, corporate accountability, and the preservation of the Amazon’s ecological systems.
The Guardians of the Forest, a volunteer monitoring force of the Guajajara tribe, are one of the last lines of defense for the rainforest in the heart of an industrialized Amazon. The Guardians, led by international activist Sônia Guajajara, struggle to leverage what few resources they have to fight for the life of the planet. You can watch the film about their work here.
Traditional fire management practices may also hold many answers. Controlled fires, which were widely banned by colonialist authorities, had long been used by indigenous peoples to maintain their land and forests and to protect their peoples from large-scale wildfires. Watch the film from If Not Us, Then Who here.
3. Fund this Independent Fire Service in the Amazon
The Brigada de Alter, or Forest Fire Brigade, are an independent group of firefighters operating in the Alter do Chão region of Pará state in the East Amazon. They are dedicated to fighting fires in the forest, which they call ‘our only and one boss’ and are in the process of training another 30 people to become fire fighters. The website is in Portuguese, but contributions can be made online by Paypal to email@example.com
4. Stop Eating Beef
No product creates more deforestation than Beef. It has been responsible for 75% of the deforestation in South America between 1990 and 2005. Brasil is now the world’s largest exporter of beef and its cattle herd has grown from 158 million heads in 1996, to 219 million in 2016. Cattle ranches require big open spaces and the fires used to clear land often get out of control and destroy areas much bigger than were intended. Indeed, 80% of the deforestation happening in the Amazon is illegal, with 80% of that land used for cattle ranches.
5. Boycott Burger King and Support the Soy Moratorium
The problem with beef is not just in the deforestation that is required for grazing, but also the land use and deforestation that is motivated by soybean production for livestock.
80% of the world’s soybean crop goes to feed cattle, so making sure that the supply chain that is used for any beef that you are eating, even if it is not from Brazil, is essential. Some organisations are doing better than others at this, but none are doing worse than Burger King.
If soybean agriculture was redirected away from deforestation towards degraded land in South America (of which there is 500 million acres), it could completely change this dynamic. The Soy Moratorium, a voluntary zero-deforestation agreement enacted in 2006 and renewed indefinitely last year, brought clearcutting in the Amazon to historically low levels, until last year. But while deforestation in the Amazon plunged, agricultural production expanded.
6. Support Rainforest Alliance and Rainforest Action Network
Rainforest Alliance is an international non-profit organization working at the intersection of business, agriculture, and forests. They are directing 100% of the funds donated in August via their Instagram to frontline groups in the Brazilian Amazon, including the Brazil chapter of their Indigenous federation partner COICA and their longtime sustainable agriculture partner IMAFLORA. Rainforest Action Network are directly supporting communities effected by the Amazon Fires and have a campaign to contribute to here.
7. Join the Global Climate Strike
To really address the issues behind deforestation and climate change, we need comprehensive action from all the World’s governments and peoples to effectively organise for the reality of a world with a disrupted climate. This is what Global Climate Strike, led by young people from around the world, is calling for. On September 20th, millions of people will walk out of their workplaces and homes to support the youth movement, who have been organising school strikes every Friday.
It’s an act that can really help to show the scale of the movement and to underline the magnitude of the urgency that is called for to deal with global situation.
8. Join an Extinction Rebellion action
If you want to act even more directly to protest the slowness of the global response to the threat of climate change, Extinction Rebellion (XR) have been organising highly effective actions of non-violent civil disobedience. XR began in London on October 31st 2018 and then organised an action in which six thousand people participated in shutting down five bridges over the River Thames in London. The movement has now spread internationally, co-ordinating itself around a statement of 10 shared principles and values.
XR are focused on actions that, in their own words are ‘more likely to take risks (e.g. arrest / jail time)’ than traditional campaigns, but if you are ok with a risk of being arrested and passionate about these forms of civil action, XR could be for you.
9. Join the Regenerative Culture Movement
To combat deforestation and extractive industrial agriculture, we don’t just need better legislation and a political will to do more. A fundamental shift in worldview is required that moves beyond ‘sustainability’ and into regenerating the planet we live on. This may seem obvious, but regenerative design, meaning the design and building of whole systems that support life and respect and rebuild the environment that sustains them, are in their infancy.
One great starting place to learn about this is Daniel Wahl’s book ‘Designing Regenerative Cultures’. The book covers the finance system, agriculture, design, ecology, economy, sustainability, organizations and society at large, not just regenerative agriculture.
The Bloom Network is an international network of people who are committed to building new models of regenerative culture. From preventing food waste, to creating new forms of collaboration that incentivize and reward regenerative actions, Bloom is connecting initiatives around the world. You can join here.
10. Sign the Petition
It’s not much. You can barely call it an action at all, but here’s at least a click that you can use to sign the Avaaz petition. Maybe if you’ve read this far, do it anyway, but please don’t stop there!
Bio: William Padilla-Brown is a certified permaculture designer taking a multidisciplinary approach to designing models of living systems that can be utilized to replace the anti-biotic (against-life) systems that our societies have provided us. He educates locals, and travels teaching workshops on Mushrooms, Spirulina, Insects, Information Technology and Permaculture. He runs a micro/molecular biology lab out of his home, and experiments with applicable models for food, medicine, and energy production.
The title of this episode comes from a quote by him: “Homeostasis will only be achieved via Symbiosis with local Systems.”
William is a stellar creator and citizen scientist, changing people’s lives with the way he educates people to grow nutritious foods and create economic and arts sovereignty. Here we talk about cultivating mushrooms, music and art, neighborhood permaculture, and some fun stories about William’s journey with entheogens.
My favorite quote from this episode: “yeah I teach a class called microherding invertebrates.” One of the insects he has been working with eats styrofoam. I can’t stop thinking about larvae that eat styrofoam ever since listening to this!
And last but not least, William’s recent album Beautiful Chæos is absolutely incredible. If you don’t have enough psychedelic rap in your life, get this.
This interview is a super inspiring conversation with one of the artistic, community oriented, entrepreneurial people that seem to pop up through Bloom Network all over the world. I learned of William’s work through Mushroom City Art Festival, a yearly family festival about the mushroom kingdom produced by Bloom Baltimore leader Robin Gunkel.
Artists William mentioned in this episode include:
Wes Period – http://www.wesperiod.com @wesperiodsteven Steven Michael Hass – visuals @stephenmichaelhaas on Instagram and music as Flower Garden on Bandcamp Mushroom trading cards – @sporestash on Instagram – FYI the US states of California, Oregon, and Idaho have legal restrictions that prohibit the sale of some kinds of spores, so look that up first if you live there.
Mush love, happy growing and arting! Magenta, Bloom Podcast Host and Executive Creative Officer of Bloom Network
Music Credits for this episode:
Intro: Beyond the Bridge by Adam Elim Outro: Xylem by It’s Cosmic
by Magenta Ceiba, executive creative officer, Bloom Network
Last week I had the inspiring pleasure of speaking with the team at nRhythm, a management consulting firm that specializes in regenerative development. They work with organizations, networks, and communities. What’s special about them, and this resonates deeply with how we’ve designed Bloom Network to be, is that they look at the regenerative wellness of individual unique people in a group, as well as the group as a whole, AND its interconnection with nature, ultimately.
We are so excited to find out about another crew that is working in this way, and that they teach others to do so. They are passionate about social equality in organizational dynamics and business. Lastly, similar to how Bloom Network is set up to be a mesh of interconnected projects and crews, nRhythm sometimes also sets up these interwoven business dynamics. We respect their level of integrity and highly recommend checking out their work!
Here are upcoming opportunities to learn their framework or do an online introduction:
Part of the Researching Regenerative Practises Blog Series
Restoring natural water retention back into landscapes is an essential task to be undertaken. A scary 1/3 of Earth’s land has been desertified at the hands of humans, causing widespread hunger and thirst. This will only get worse if we don’t take practical action.
Water Retention programs restore the land to a natural form which brings back seasonal rains. By enabling rainwater to be stored on site, these retention zones strategically hold the water during the dry seasons. The water can then by used to to re-establish forests and restore the water ecosystems.
Many regenerative practitioners are designing water retention systems. There are only a few companies that work through the full process of creating decentralised water retention landscapes from start to finish. Elemental Ecosystems is one such organisation and they are seeing amazing results with their work.
“We can’t address climate change without addressing the water cycle disturbance” says Founder Zach Weiss. “Everywhere it’s the same story. The precipitation levels are much higher when it comes, and it comes less often. Large dams and reservoirs are very energy intensive. Smaller decentralised water retention systems are much more efficient. Zach concludes, “It’s not the climate that’s the problem, it’s actually human management” of the land that we need to change.
Elemental Ecosystems are seeing results beyond the land they are specifically working on. The Portugal Tomorrow Village didn’t have enough water when the project started. Now they have a surplus. In a project in Borneo, there has been a 10% increase in rainfall, not just for the local site, but also locations downwind from the site.
Zack’s next goals are to work on upscaling, using a teaching
model that will enable students to learn the process, and then franchise Elemental
Ecosystems around the world. It is his hope that water retention projects will
take off and regenerate water ecosystems on a worldwide scale.
Here are several podcasts where you can learn about regenerative culture practices. We are looking to add podcasts to this list that are in other languages and not centered in the U.S. Please get in touch if you have recommendations.
All My Relations: Hosted by Matika Wilbur (Swinomish and Tulalip) and Adrienne Keene (Cherokee Nation). “A podcast to discuss our relationships as Native peoples—to land, ancestors, and to each other.”
America Adapts with Doug Parsons. Particularly check out the episode called “Climate Change Podcasters Unite!”, which introduces several other climate change adapatation podcasts (practical solutions people are implementing as we face more storms and displacement, etc).
How to Survive the End of the World: Join Autumn Brown and adrienne maree brown, two sisters who share many identities, as writers, activists, facilitators, and inheritors of multiracial diasporic lineages, as well as a particular interest in the question of survival, as we embark on a podcast that delves into the practices we need as a community, to move through endings and to come out whole on the other side, whatever that might be.
The Permaculture Podcast with Scott Mann: A podcast dedicated to Permaculture education, sustainability, gardening, organic food, and resiliency.
Upstream: Unlearning everything you thought you knew about economics. Radical ideas and inspiring stories for a just transition to a more beautiful and equitable world
The Next System Project: an initiative of The Democracy Collaborative aimed at bold thinking and action to address the systemic challenges the United States faces now and in coming decades. Deep crises of economic inequality, racial injustice and climate change—to name but three—are upon us, and systemic problems require systemic solutions.
Forthcoming: Indigenous Regenerative Economy, co-hosted by David Karabelnikoff with support from the Healing and Reconciliation Institute.
words by Magenta Ceiba, photography by Alan Rockefeller and Magenta
This Friday I had the honor of representing Bloom Network to support the launch of the Decriminalize Nature initiative in Oakland, California.
The purpose of this ballot initiative is to decriminalize entheogenic plants, restore our root connection to nature, and improve human health and well-being. Decriminalize Nature refers to entheogenic plants, fungi, and natural sources (as defined herein), such as mushrooms, cacti, iboga containing plants and /or extracted combinations of plants similar to Ayahuasca; and limited to those containing the following types of compounds: indole amines, tryptamines, phenethylamines.
The event featured speakers, letter writing, button-making, screen-printing, delicious food and more. The vibe at the start of the event was nothing short of holy. The experiences people have had with these natural psychedelic substances have been profound and life-changing, and we all care about, in the words of Dr. Mellody Hayes, “increasing the access and availability of healing to all people.” It was a gathering of grassroots community coming together to have these relationships with nature.
Subsequent events in the coming months will continue the momentum so be sure to check them out if you’re in the area. This is one of several related initiatives happening in the U.S. at this time. Denver, Colorado and Oregon both have ballot initiatives up to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms.
When I arrived, I learned that two of the authors of this initiative met at HiveMind, an event produced by Bloom Bay Area between 2012-2014. (You can attend the new version of this event, Pollination, in August in SF!) It was a beautiful reminder of how deep of relationships and impacts have formed over the years of our local chapter events. Once the connections form, look what flowers!
Speaker highlights included: talented artist Chor Boogie talking about his emergence from his first Iboga ceremony after plunging into a heroine relapse, and loving his life again; and Ryan Miller of Educating Veterans About Cannabis urging folks to prioritize vulnerable communities in access to medicine ceremonies, perhaps by people paying more for their seat so that someone who can’t afford it can receive one.
I had the pleasure of speaking with David Karabelnikoff, an Alaskan Aleut living in the Bay Area, who is co-producing a forthcoming podcast about indigenous regenerative economy, as well as the second annual NDGNS Hackathon of artists. He told me something about tobacco that I’d like to pass along. Native peoples are taught to work with tobacco for prayer, in connection with the Earth. He described that the way Americans use it is that they think about their worries and things they’re stressed out about it when they’re smoking, thereby sending those prayers to spirit – literally the opposite of traditional teachings.
Larry Norris, co-founder of ERIE – Entheogenic, Research, Integration and Education, and myself silk-screened shirts together advertising the initiative. We did about 30 shirts. It was the first time either of us had done silk-screening, so we learned how and had a blast in the process. Larry was part of our local Bloom (then Evolver) organizing crew around 2012, so it was a pleasure to be together making art for a great cause.
Lastly, do you know about 920, Global Magic Mushroom Day???!!!!!?!?!?! Check it out, 920 Coalition. I have met the most wonderful people at events around it.
It was a gift to support the launch of the Decriminalize Nature initiative. I hope you’ll also support it or pick up the torch on related initiatives in your cities and states/provinces as they inevitably join the current.