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CoalitionWILD (USA): How can we protect the planet from us?

The Ideas Shot dialogues tackle the topic of climate change and the series starts with Crista Valentino, guest of Adina Vlad and Alec Bălășescu.

Adina and Alec's guest, Crista, is the founder and director of CoalitionWILD and together we tried to understand what lies behind the climate change discussions and what steps the human species could take to repair some of the damage already done.

CoalitionWILD is the organization founded and led by young people under 35 and aims to empower young people to shape their future the way they want it to be. The CoalitionWILD team has successfully operated in over 140 countries and practices, as Crista says, from wherever her laptop takes her.

The dialogue began with a question as simple as it was profound: what is climate change?

The question involves a wide range of answers, many of them subjective because, as Crista says:

"Climate change affects and impacts us differently because we are different as individuals and this affects how the outside world impacts us."

For Alec, climate change is a scientific reality, a political battle ground, an everyday experience. As all scientists say, it is clear that we are at a turning point in terms of climate change. There are, of course, changes that are part of the planetary cycle, the long-term cycle, but there are also man-made changes. In this respect, our species has pushed things a bit.

Crista further particularizes the idea of climate change, managing to encapsulate it in a broader view: climate change is how the world we live in is changing.

Beyond accepting or agreeing with the idea of climate change, there is this very hot debate on the global agenda: is there a real climate change or not.

For Crista, this debate is less relevant as it only diverts attention from the root of the problem. "We are stuck in the idea that people have to recognize that climate change exists. The world's agenda is driven by a selfish pattern where it doesn't matter which side we are on, between those who accept climate change and those who don't, the idea is to get people to join our side. But the point is that it doesn't matter which side of the issue we are on. We have to ask ourselves: what kind of future do we want to live in? That's what really matters," says Crista.

Climate change has a negative and dark connotation, like: man will not survive but nature will. Negativity creates a kind of paralysis of reactions and at the same time a kind of despair: I can't do anything or don't know what to do to fix things. It is not enough to feel this paralysis but we must take action to stop the situation from deteriorating.

And this degradation, Alec tells us, is on the one hand natural for the planetary rhythm as the planet has gone through several extinctions - and now we are probably experiencing another one, even if it will not unfold in all its glory in our generation or that of our children. Degradation could be stopped or at least slowed by innovation Alec tells us.

"We, as a species, have proven to be very good innovators. But this has happened mostly under pressure. If we're not under pressure, we don't innovate, we just indulge in our own existence," concludes Alec.

Climate change requires more concrete and concerted actions, it requires all people to get over physical and mental blocks that this thinking can induce and take action.

The Nature Needs Half project is the kind of action humanity needs. NNH is an organization founded in 2019 by the WILD Foundation at the 9th World Wilderness Congress (WILD9) in Merida, Mexico and advocates for protecting 50% of the planet's land and water covered areas by 2030.

"I don't see NNH as a political organization just as I don't see it as a declaration that states need to join. Nature not only needs us to protect water and land but we need to remember that nature is half of us. Nature doesn't just need to be protected; it needs us as a species to reconnect with it." Crista tells us.

Alec believes that the basic idea of NNH is that everything we humans do in order to live in harmony on Earth must include nature in our habitat, not exclude or reject it. "The idea is to stop putting man at the center of existence but start putting life there" says Alec.

Crista concludes punctually and profoundly with a call that should make us all more alert and eager to take a stand: "both humans and non-human species need essentially the same thing!" We are not much different on the issues that keep us alive.

Solutions can exist and some of them are clear, Alec tells us. The only detail that makes the difference between action and inaction or delay is that these solutions may not appeal to us as a species.

Crista’s powerful and final call in this dialogue is simple and clear:

The human species needs to reconnect with nature. Only then will the solutions we find become more viable. And we all agree!



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