2020 is here. And the gravity of the decade and this moment in history seems to be weighing heavily on us as individuals and as a collective. The year feels momentous and many are hoping it marks a turning point in the direction of our mankind and our planet.
In the face of the ongoing climate change debate and the natural disasters happening all around us, we must act—and we must act now. We at V2G Clarity are going beyond ‘hoping’ and taking serious action this year. We owe it to ourselves, our planet, future generations, and the billions of plants and animals whose habitats are systematically being destroyed by climate change. Read on to find out what we’re doing and how you can join us.
- “Our House Is On Fire” – An Overview of Devastating Wildfires Worldwide
- “A Fight For Our Lives” – IPCC says we have 12 years max. to take substantial actions
- There Are Solutions: Introducing the Eden Reforestation Projects
- V2G Clarity’s Commitment to Global Reforestation
- The Time To Act Is Now
“Our House Is On Fire”
Literally and figuratively, we have seen an unprecedented amount of physical fires and political unwillingness to take responsible action in the last few decades. This has allowed global warming to sneak by and intensify at an alarming rate, unhindered thanks to the inaction of inept and selfish politicians worldwide.
During this time, wildfires are just one of the natural phenomena that have worsened. When the Amazon rainforest caught fire last January, 906,000 hectares burned. Last July, 2.6 million hectares were turned to ash across the Siberian steppe. And this was just the beginning:
- Wildfires in West have gotten bigger, more frequent and longer since the 1980s
“The area burned in the northern U.S. Rockies has increased by 3,000 percent…But fire activity has recently accelerated in Southwest and Pacific Northwest forests as well. The area of burned forest in the Southwest increased over 1,200 percent, and in the Northwest by nearly 5,000 percent. […] In the period between 2003 and 2012, the average burn time for individual fires was 52 days. In the 1973-1982 period, it was just six days.” As the Australian Bushfires continue to burn as of this writing, we shudder to think what the average is over this most recent decade.
- California’s Wildfires Are 500 Percent Larger Due to Climate Change
“The past decade has seen half of the state’s 10 largest wildfires and seven of its 10 most destructive fires, including last year’s Camp Fire, the state’s deadliest wildfire ever.”
- Using US map to examine scale of massive Australia wildfires
“The wildfires burning in Australia, covering 12 million acres, are… bigger than several other states including Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and New Jersey.”
- More than one billion animals killed in Australian fires
“The authors deliberately employed highly conservative estimates in making their calculations. Based on that formula, the true mortality is likely to be substantially higher than those estimated.”
In her now world-renown speech at the Davos 2019 World Economic Forum, teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg said, “Act as if our house is on fire, because it is”. She cited the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report that states that we are less than 12 years away from the point of no return. With wildfires ravaging our planet and only worsening by the day, the time to take concrete action has never been more urgent.
“A Fight For Our Lives”
Last year, the IPCC released a special report on the implications of 1.5°C of global warming, entitled Summary for Policymakers. This report was a collaboration of 91 key authors from 44 citizenships and 40 countries of residence, with contributions from 133 authors and over 6,000 cited references. The report also amassed 42,001 expert and government review comments.
Naomi Klein’s book, On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal, dives into the IPCC special report. Here is an excerpt adapted from her introduction and epilogue.
The report examined the implications of keeping the increase in planetary warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7°F). Given the worsening disasters we are already seeing with about 1°C of warming, it found that keeping temperatures below the 1.5°C threshold is humanity’s best chance of avoiding truly catastrophic unraveling.
Doing that would be extremely difficult. According to the UN World Meteorological Organization, we are on a path to warming the world by 3–5°C by the end of the century. To keep the warming below 1.5°C would require, the IPCC authors found, cutting global emissions approximately in half in a mere twelve years and getting to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Not just in one country but in every major economy. And because carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has already dramatically surpassed safe levels, it would also require drawing a great deal of that down, whether through unproven and expensive carbon-capture technologies or the old-fashioned ways: by planting billions of trees and other carbon-sequestering vegetation.
Pulling off this high-speed pollution phaseout, the report establishes, is not possible with singular technocratic approaches like carbon taxes, though those tools must play a part. Rather, it requires deliberately and immediately changing how our societies produce energy, how we grow our food, how we move around, and how our buildings are constructed. What is needed, the report’s summary states in its first sentence, is ‘rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.’ The report examined the implications of keeping the increase in planetary warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7°F). Given the worsening disasters we are already seeing with about 1°C of warming, it found that keeping temperatures below the 1.5°C threshold is humanity’s best chance of avoiding truly catastrophic unraveling.Naomi Klein
As abysmal as this all sounds, there is a way to help our planet. Klein spells it out clearly for us: we must take action into our own hands in both innovative and clear cut ways.
There Are Solutions: Introducing the Eden Reforestation Projects
With the 12-year countdown to the point of no return in full effect, I as an individual and business owner decided to look into ways that we at V2G Clarity could expand our impact. That’s how I found the Eden Reforestation Projects. Eden is a non-profit with the clear goal of reestablishing natural landscapes that have been destroyed by deforestation. Eden works with villagers and communities in developing countries who are facing the extreme poverty that results from deforestation and losing the land that had sustained them for centuries.
Eden’s approach is to hire local villagers across the globe to replant their own forests, planting millions of trees every month. For as little as 10 cents per tree, Eden guarantees that they will plant, grow, and guard each tree to maturity. The result? A healthy and native forest and armies of trees to help combat global warming.
All of Eden’s work is funded by donations from individuals, groups, and eco-conscious businesses. Eden manages 82 project sites spread across Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, and Nepal. As of this publication, they have planted over 250 million trees since their inception in 2004. Eden isn’t messing around: they endeavor to expand to many more countries, with the goal of planting billions of trees every month and “to offer a life-transforming wage to tens of thousands of villagers in countries where poverty is rampant”, according to their website.
The company’s videos speak for themselves and show the authenticity of the mission. Here, Eden’s founder and CEO Dr. Stephen Fitch highlights their 2019 achievements.
By hiring local villagers, Eden is not only alleviating poverty but also confronting these major issues head-on:
- Global deforestation
Eden has projects all over the globe and works to restore areas that once had lush forests but are now mere deserts. Thanks to Eden, these areas are being transformed into rich and native forests again.
- Climate mitigation
According to CIFOR, forests absorb 2.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year, about one-third of the carbon dioxide released from the burning of fossil fuels. Planting and protecting forests worldwide is imperative in a comprehensive approach to combating climate change.
- Women disempowerment
Eden is helping female employees move towards economic independence thanks to a steady income. This economic independence gives them the opportunity to provide for their families, ensures they are able to keep themselves safe, and send their children to school.
- Species extinction
75% of the species found in Madagascar (over 200,000 species of plants and animals) do not live anywhere else on the planet. According to Eden’s 2018 report, 90% of the forests in Madagascar have been destroyed, displacing entire animal populations and taking away the Malagasy’s ability to farm and live on the land. People have been so desperate to make a living that they resorted to cutting down trees to be able to provide for their families. Eden is making efforts to reverse this troubling trend.
Countries like Haiti have suffered from years of ecological devastation leading to crop failure, flooding, soil erosion, and food insecurity for the population. Now, thanks to Eden, farmers and families are receiving agroforestry trees (e.g. avocado, cacao, breadfruit, grapefruit, key lime, orange, and apricot) that will allow them to plant and provide food for their families.
One of Eden’s goals is for Haitians is to sell food from these trees as an additional source of income. In fact, 10% of the trees planted through Eden projects are agroforestry species to ensure food security for local communities.
But planting trees alone is not enough. With locals often at a loss for how to feed themselves and their families, they often turn to destroying their own forests. This makes guarding trees an immensely important element of Eden’s mission. Having a steady income allows Eden’s employees to afford medical care, pay off debt, start microenterprises, and more.
It’s one thing to plant a tree. But if you plant a tree and leave it, that tree most likely will not survive.Jamie Shattenberg, International Director for Madagascar, explained in this powerful video
Think about the magnitude of this combination: alleviating poverty and mitigating climate change at the same time. This concept holds the potential to prevent waves of climate refugees fleeing their home countries due to economic despair and uninhabitable lands.
As Naomi Klein stated in her book:
This is a crisis overwhelmingly created by the wealthiest strata of society: almost 50 percent of global emissions are produced by the richest 10 percent of the world’s population; the wealthiest 20 percent are responsible for 70 percent. But the impacts of those emissions are hurting the poorest first and worst, forcing growing numbers of people to move, with many more on the way. A 2018 World Bank study estimates that by 2050, more than 140 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America will be displaced because of climate stresses, an estimate many consider conservative.Naomi Klein in “On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal“
We believe that the Eden Reforestation Projects provides a sound and equitable solution to this concerning trend. Take a look at their 2018 Annual Report (2019 Annual Report coming up soon) to see how the donations were used to foster success stories around the globe.
V2G Clarity’s Commitment to Global Reforestation
Since the launch of V2G Clarity in 2016, our steadfast mission has been to help bring convenient, secure, and user-friendly electric vehicle charging to a global audience. We see ourselves as an integral part of the electric vehicle ecosystem. Our role is to support EV manufacturers, charging infrastructure operators, and our colleagues in associated services industries. What drives us is the vision that one day, there will be no more fossil-fueled cars allowed on the streets. And eventually, there will be electric airplanes too! Undoubtedly, we have a long way to go. But we hope that our work as a company and collectively in the EV-community is paving the way to make this future into a reality.
Recently, we realized that being one of the forefront educational resources in the industry isn’t enough. To maximize our impact, we decided to partner with Eden Reforestation Projects to support their work worldwide. As of January 2020, V2G Clarity has signed a Memorandum of Understanding stating that we will donate 5% of all monthly net income to the Eden Reforestation Projects. This will come from all income-generating activities, including sales of the ISO 15118 Manual, online courses, live trainings, consulting, or future software and hardware products currently in our pipeline.
This action means the V2G Clarity community will collectively make an even bigger impact on carbon emissions worldwide. We will combine planting trees with all of our hard engineering work to bring electric vehicles to a wider audience around the globe.
The Time To Act Is Now
Are you interested in joining this mission? Your company, too, can sign up for a partnership with Eden Reforestation Projects. Together, we can make our impact that much greater.
Unfortunately, we cannot rely on our governments to do the right thing. This is something we have witnessed throughout 2019 and, in all honesty, for the last many decades. Despite the wake-up call of the Fridays for Future movement, initiated by Greta Thunberg, we still see the majority of governments failing to execute.
In the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015, we as a global collective committed to heavily reduce CO2 emissions and reach the 1.5°C goal. Yet, there are still many disappointing examples of political unwillingness to act on behalf of the planet, such as (but not limited to):
- USA has completely withdrawn from the Paris Climate Agreement
- Germany, which initiated the “Energiewende”, can only agree on a price of 25 EUR per ton CO2 – although our Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) said the price should be much higher to have a meaningful impact. According to BMU, the CO2 price must reach at least 180 EUR by 2030 to significantly reduce CO2 emissions – impossible with a starting price of 25 EUR. I am deeply disappointed with my own government’s failure to lead with respect to impactful policies for mitigating climate change.
- In face of the catastrophic wildfires in Australia, the Australian government under Scott Morrison still holds on to coal mining (Australia is among the world’s largest exporters of coal) as the primary source of energy.
- Not to mention the truly disappointing results of the UN Climate Change Conference, which took place December 2 – 13 last year.
In the face of the global pandemic of wildfires and other international environmental disasters—mixed with the political ineptitude in taking any rational action—it has never been more important for us to take individual and community-wide action. Perhaps you can join together with others in your company or organization to figure out some massive action that you can take. After all, it is within the collective that the true power lies.
Whether you join me by donating to Eden Reforestation Projects or find other ways of making a meaningful impact, it’s up to you. Either way: the time is now. Please, make a point to take tangible action today. And please share this article with your peers.