The newsletter to fuel — and thrill — your mind. Read for deep dives into the unmissable ideas and topics shaping our world.
Oct 22, 2021
“Climate change is real. It is happening right now, it is the most urgent threat facing our entire species and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating,” said actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio. Our climate is changing faster than scientists have predicted. It’s become abundantly clear: the future of our planet depends on the choices we make right now. Despite the major challenges facing us, we may still have time to change course and there are clear signs that some significant change is underway. In this Daily Dose, we highlight the communities, technologies and voices creating innovative solutions and driving tangible change toward our vision of a more sustainable future.
1 - License to Kill
Botswana and South Africa are encouraging limited hunting of species nearing extinction … to rescue them. Sound crazy? They’ve concluded that banning hunting altogether leaves poor local communities vulnerable to bribes from poachers. Instead, they’re allowing strictly regulated trophy hunting and game farming. That creates a local economy that benefits communities situated next to wildlife-rich regions, giving them an incentive to ensure endangered species survive. It’s an approach that’s worked with Botswana’s elephants and South Africa’s roan antelope. Could it also work with other endangered species, from Brazil’s jaguars to India’s lions?
2 - Frogs in High Demand
They’re not frogging around. Scientists at sustainable bio-commerce company Wikiri are breeding Ecuador’s rare frog species in a lab to target the illegal pet market. The argument? As long as there’s a demand for Ecuador’s wild frogs, trafficking won’t stop, and it’s better to feed that appetite with lab-grown croakers, leaving the wild ones safe. But some critics worry that legalizing trade in lab frogs could provide a cover for trafficking in the wild species too.
3 - Making Peace with Wolves
For centuries, shepherds along the India-China border in the region of Ladakh have battled wolves and snow leopards that target their yaks. Now conservationists are using Buddhism’s tenets of coexistence and respect for all living creatures to convince villagers to dismantle their wolf traps and set up special enclaves where the predators can find prey other than yaks. If successful, it could offer a spiritual basis for resolving human-animal conflict elsewhere. Read More on OZY.
4 - Gambia’s Greenery Conflict
Farms vs. forests. It’s the classic conundrum that has long confronted resource management as humanity tries to scale up agriculture. But the West African nation of Gambia is upending the antagonistic presumption. Over the past quarter century, it has increased land under cultivation, halved its undernourished population and increased forest cover by 10 percent. Its solution? Handing over ownership of forests to local communities with a rich regional history that will ensure the green cover stays intact and keeps growing. Read More on OZY.
planetary power and politics
1 - Intersectional Ecojustice
When Ali Zaidi worked at the Obama White House, his goal was simply to show the effects of global warming. Now in his mid-30s, the Pakistani American lawyer is leading a new climate change strategy for the Biden administration — one that incorporates racial and economic justice seamlessly into environmental efforts. “The breadth at which we go about tackling this issue is very, very different,” the deputy climate adviser told OZY. Getting conservative Americans to rally around Biden’s plans won’t be easy, which is why the president will lean heavily on Zaidi, a Democrat who grew up in the Rust Belt espousing a Republican ethos before going green.
2 - Reforming Infrastructure
Zaidi has been playing a key role in shepherding Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan through Congress, given that it carries with it a number of environmental aims — from a $174 billion jolt to the electric vehicle market to $100 billion for updating the country’s power grid. The biggest goal of all: Biden’s ambitious plan to hit net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, a plan which centrist democrats have been lobbying aggressively to slash. America isn’t alone; in fact, a new space race may be forming around that lofty aim. Despite historically being a massive polluter, China plans to beat both the U.S. and Europe to the punch by investing in clean power technologies and nuclear energy.
3 - Cashing in on Climate Change
There is a larger scramble by nations to benefit from efforts to address climate change — or, in some cases, to benefit from the wreckage left in its wake. Nowhere is that battle being played out more aggressively than in the Arctic, where Russia and the U.S. are engaged in a new cold war that’s dropped well below freezing. Oil companies like the Russia-based Transneft are expanding drilling while profiting from new shipping routes created by ice breakage. And China-backed Greenland Minerals recently tried to mine a valuable rare-earth deposit in Greenland, although those efforts may be rebuffed after the local green party won the largest vote share in elections earlier this month. Read More on OZY.
1 - Vanessa Nakate
The Associated Press landed in hot water when the wire service cropped Nakate, a Black Ugandan climate activist, out of a photo with other (white) activists from Davos in January 2020. Nakate, whose message, “We cannot eat coal. We cannot drink oil,” has spread globally, refuses to be muted. Now the 24-year-old is on the TIME 2021 Next List for a host of accomplishments. Most notably? Her work with two organizations she founded, the women-empowering Rise Up Movement and the Green Schools Project, which helps Ugandan schools transition to solar energy.
2 - Mordecai Ogada
Modern-day conservation is the new colonialism, according to this agitator extraordinaire. Ogada has spent his 50-something years in love with the wildlife of his home country of Kenya. The Ph.D., with degrees in both zoology and ecology, is known for declaring that Black Africans deserve a place in conservation conversations instead of being blamed for the continent’s environmental problems. The activist is as contentious as he is fearless, going so far as to call his fellow environmentalists “prostitutes” for too readily accepting donor-driven solutions that favor instant gratification over long-term results. Read More on OZY.
3 - Sunita Dhairyam
From Zambia to the U.K. to the U.S. and then to India — that’s the circuitous journey Dhairyam took before settling on the outskirts of Bandipur National Park in Karnataka state. Now in her late 50s, the artist sells paintings to tourists to raise funds to compensate villagers who lose livestock to the park’s tigers and leopards. She provides free monthly medical camps and provides medical care for local livestock through her organization, the Mariamma Charitable Trust. She hopes that by alleviating the economic strain in her community, conservation will become a higher priority.
4 - Akashinga
What’s the secret to protecting Zimbabwe’s endangered elephants? According to nonprofit Akashinga, it’s women. This Zimbabwean group employs female rangers who come from abusive or impoverished backgrounds. The gun-toting vegans hunt poachers and teach their communities about the value of wildlife. Akashinga, which means “brave ones,” is Zimbabwe’s first all-female anti-poaching unit and operates in the Phundundu wildlife sanctuary about 260 kilometers from the capital Harare. They’ve earned the respect of their peers, having racked up 51 arrests in the program’s first nine months.
5 - Virunga Rangers
Located in the Democratic Republic of Congo near Uganda, Virunga National Park is one of Africa’s most biodiverse areas … and one of its most dangerous. The Congolese rangers guarding endangered mountain gorillas there work under constant threat of violence. Six rangers were killed in a January attack, possibly by a rebel militia, and they were not the first victims. More than 200 rangers have died defending the gorillas throughout the park’s storied past.
Quote of the Day
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” - Jane Goodall
ozy community corner
What did we miss? Share your thoughts on any communities, technology, actions or voices that are making a positive change to save our planet. Email us at email@example.com.
OZY is a diverse, global and forward-looking media and entertainment company focused on “the New and the Next.” OZY creates space for fresh perspectives and offers new takes on everything from news and culture to technology, business, learning and entertainment.