The near future holds unprecedented environmental and political upheaval. The impact of climate change is tangible now, but the brunt is still to come. We recognise that our global political system is already fraying at the edges. Despite the Paris agreement to limit carbon emissions, by mid-century climate change will cause dramatic ecosystem shifts. There will be more heat waves, droughts, floods, cyclones, and wildfires. In some regions food and water will be scarce. In others, violent conflicts, amplified by poverty, will be common. Meanwhile thousands of species will disappear from the tapestry of the earth.
As our cultivated global community erodes, the elite in North America and Europe will start making political triage decisions about what will be saved, consigning the views of those outside their clique to a helpless ghetto. Big business will be invited to step in, and the remaining areas of wild will become a commodity for the elite.
People across the world intrinsically know once wildlife is gone the place they once lived will be hollow. These are the threads we must protect.
Like a weaver sitting at an empty loom, there are many possibilities ahead. The tapestry of our future is our collective choice. We can sit, indifferent, and weave plain fabric, allowing others dye and shape it into projects of their own making –projects that will impoverish communities and subjugate nature until we lose the last of what is precious. Or, we can imagine a beautifully woven tapestry that reflects the depth, texture and colour of what we want to protect.
The weft already exists in activists fighting to protect water birds and wetlands from mining; herders standing with snow leopards in the Himalaya; communities rescuing orang-utans from palm oil fires, and people stepping in the footsteps of elephants that walk the plains and forests of Africa. These are the voices that should be heard.
We can choose the warp thread, even with imperfections, and weave our own wild tapestry. We can sit at the loom of survival to design our future.