SPECIAL ISSUE Environment 2018- Loss of Biodiversity and Latin American Forests, a Threat Beyond Climate Change

In the annual issue on the environment, Cosmopolita Scotland deals with some cases of deforestation in Latin America ,one of the most biodiverse regions in the world.

Articles

What are the consequences of the loss of biodiversity in the north east of Brazil?

In The Guardians of El Cerrado, the Forgotten Biome one can read, see and hear how thousands of semi-wild hectares have been deforested for eucalyptus plantations. The rural communities of El Cerrado, one of the most threatened biomes in the world, have been resisting the unstoppable expansion of this monoculture for more than three decades now.

How poor farmers organise themselves in deforested areas in Colombia?

In Los Castores and the Forest Governance Challenge in Colombia, you will read how a group of former illegal loggers willingly handed in their chainsaws and decided to replant their region.

What can we learn from indigenous cultures to protect natural reserves?

In Exports of wood, illegal logging and the threat to the Ka’apor Indians,  Ipêis explained how the high price of the Ipê wood results in the illegal logging of this tropical tree and a battle between the Ka’apor Indians and the lumber companies local in the Brazilian northeast.

 


JORDI ALBACETE (Environment Editor-in-Chief and Managing Director)

The loss of biodiversity on the planet has become a threat as lethal as climate change regarding food and water security for the survival of billions of people, as was stated last March at the International Conference on Biodiversity , in Medellín, Colombia.

In 2005 the study Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, commissioned by the United Nations, concluded that changes in ecosystems due to human activities had been faster in the last 50 years than at any other time in human existence. These changes, for example, the extinction of species, are irreversible and can cause ecological collapse.

In Latin America, one of the regions most vulnerable to climate change, 40% of the planet’s flora and fauna species are concentrated, as explained in the report Climate change and its effects on Latin American biodiversity. Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru are among the most biodiverse countries in the world and account for 25 to 50% of endemic species, many of them endangered.

Deforestation, together with pollution, is one of the greatest threats to Latin American biodiversity, according to the International Organization of Tropical Forests. In this brief special issue I collect in three articles, some of the impacts of deforestation in Colombia and Brazil.

Independent Journalism and Social Impact

From Cosmopolita Scotland we want to let you know that the project is being restructured and for the last year it has published a few articles and no quarterly issues. Since the very early days of CS  almost all the work has been done voluntarily, except for the outstanding work of paid interns who obtained scholarships through university programmes.

With a constructive but also critical spirit, we are taking the opportunity to share our views on how social enterprise funders should review the social benefits delivered by independent media projects.

Often when seeking  financial support we were asked to bring evidence on social impact beyond our journalistic activity.  The magazine was managed by the directive team on a voluntary basis. The editorial team and the supporting Board of Trustees demonstrated that we were creating and had plans to deliver more useful information, specifically focusing on topics affecting migrants, people with disabilities, gender minorities as well as raising awareness of environmental protection. It seemed to us from the different feedback we got from potential funders that we needed to find some measurable indicators to demonstrate how we were impacting on our audiences.

The evidence that we could show to funders is that we created sixteen paid opportunities for interns, students and recent graduates who had their first relevant work experience with CS. In many cases these first work experiences translated into a job in their field of expertise. The training and support was delivered by the editorial team in Edinburgh as a free service.  We believed that we could scale up CS and create more content by hosting highly talented and motivated paid interns.

The social impact that we were delivering, which was sometimes not evident for potential funders, was obvious for many other social entrepreneurs who knew first hand CS work. In fact CS is a registered charity with two official charitable purposes: the advancement of citizenship and the protection of the environment. We were invited to collaborate in different social initiatives and to tailor campaigns for the protection of migrant rights, specifically in the uncertain context of Brexit. We felt disappointed when we experienced the lack of understanding from some of the potential funders about the influence a civic media project could bring to mitigate the side effects of the emerging and more frequent hate discourses.

If you have read the full statement we invite you to comment at the end of the articles. You can tell us  what you have learnt by reading them, and most importantly why do you think that independent media is needed to tackle social and environmental injustices.  Your views matter to us.

Any comments will be really welcome!

Thank you very much from CS team.