Biodiversity is the ecosystem that has shaped the environment which allowed for human life to exist millions of years ago. Preserving this ecosystem is thus key issue to our survival, failing that, then this would pose a serious threat to human existence, as heralded by the extinction of a number of other living species.

Photo: UNDP

In Greek mythology, Flora and Fauna were goddesses who represented many aspects of ancient life. While Flora, goddess of spring, would be used as a symbol of youth and fertility, Fauna was mainly described as a strong female figure who could foresee the future. According to the elders, Fauna’s songs resonated the fate of humankind.

Which fate would Fauna be singing today? Come every spring, may we still see any future for youth and fertility? Living in a world where technology allows for men to conquer space in search for other viable ecosystems, deforestation and loss of biodiversity are still huge sources of concern on earth. SDG 15 is a call for the protection of life on land: not just animals but everything around us – trees, fungi, mountains, land and native populations.

According to UNDP, progress in preserving and sustainably using Earth’s terrestrial species and ecosystems is uneven. The good news is that more forests are being protected and many countries are putting policies and certifications in place to safeguard their ecosystems. But the effort made by governments and NGOs is not enough. Many key biodiversity areas are still under threat as they are not protected. Even when they are, the lack of inspection, added to corruption, make preservation more difficult. Land productivity has been declining since 1998, especially in South America and Africa, which aggravates desertification, security issues and land conflicts. The UN estimates that more than 1 billion people are currently endangered due to these problems.

The international community is committed to support and conserve biodiversity, either by signing agreements or by donating bilateral funds to biodiversity projects. Apart from that, NGOs are tirelessly working to raise awareness of the urgent ‘life on land’ cause.

Horyou is proud to host organizations such as ANDA, the first and largest animal news agency in Latin America. Based in Brazil, with more than 1.5 visitors a month, ANDA is an active voice on animal rights and shares news about scientific tests on animals and poaching, as well as the appalling conditions in farms, among other critical topics. They are trying hard to enforce SDG 15. Are you willing to do the same?

If you wish to support this SDG, you can do so through Horyou. Go to Horyou platform and choose an NGO or project that helps protect life on land in your region or anywhere in the world. You can also show your support by participating in #HoryouLightChallenge! Be the change, be Horyou!

Back in the 1990s, environmental journalism was a brave choice – a relatively new, complicated topic that has only started to engage the global audience, while many broadcasters and newspapers were not yet convinced it was an issue of public interest. Despite all the odds, Mark Kinver decided to pursue the career, and never looked back. The environmental journalist has been working for BBC News for more than 17 years and is always inspired by trees, as much as by people and the mission to report the truth.

Horyou blog is happy to inaugurate the «Changemakers» interview series with Mark Kinver!

Kinver: «People do care about environment»

When and why did you start covering environmental issues?

I started reporting on environmental issues back in the late 1990s. I had always been interested in politics but I became a bit dismayed with the seemingly petty nature of disputes within political parties and within the mechanics of the party political process. I did not want to follow a career in an arena which left me feeling somewhat disenchanted. So I looked around for an issue/topic that I could focus on. The environment had always been a central part of my life. As a youngster, I either spent my time on moorland or beaches, and I loved trees (still do!). I have not looked back since then and have reported on environmental stories all over the world.

In the last few years, environmental issues have been gathering more global attention and making daily headlines. Are you optimistic about the public awareness of these topics?

Yes. People do care about environmental issues. Whether it is about the energy they use, the transport that takes them from A to B, the food they eat, or the plight of threatened species. What environmentally focused organisations and individuals need to remember is that people do care. However, they also care about keeping a roof over their heads and putting food on the table. It may not be the top priority for most people but it is still an issue. Give people facts and they will act. Give people emotion and they will become suspicious.

More often than not, environmental coverage touches on social issues. How to raise the public’s attention to the interconnectivity between the environment and society?

Avoid buzzwords and concepts like interconnectivity and interdependency etc. People just need to become aware of the relationship their have with the land around them. This will take time, and a big question is whether we have enough time left to make us all a sustainable species. I remain hopeful that we will forge a closer relationship with the planet and the means of how it sustains us.

Who inspires you in your work?

People on the front line. Farmers, scientists, business people, etc. They have to face real-world problems on a day-to-day basis, and they have to find the best solution they can. More and more of them are putting environmental considerations centre stage.

What will be your main focus in 2018?

Apart from trees (!) I think food security is going to be an issue we are going to hear more and more about. While there will be a focus on the food supply chains, we will also hear much more about nutrition security – in industrialised economies, experts are concerned that too much sugar and fat is being consumed. This concern will manifest itself in various guises, such as proposed economic instruments, public awareness campaigns and an increase in consumer awareness.

A Agência de Notícias de Direitos Animais (ANDA) acaba de se juntar à comunidade Horyou. A nova parceria une forças pela causa dos direitos dos animais, que encontram ressonância em todo o mundo. Por meio da participação da ANDA na rede social, os membros Horyou poderão ter acesso a notícias sobre animais de qualquer parte do mundo, além de trocar experiências e contribuir com conteúdo para a agência. 

Agência de Notícias de Direitos Animais
Agência de Notícias de Direitos Animais

“Jornalismo animalista”

Com oito anos de atividade, a ANDA foi criada com o objetivo de informar para transformar a realidade da causa animal, criando conteúdo gratuito que é distribuído para outros veículos de comunicação. “Queremos mostrar o que acontece nos bastidores da experimentação, do circo e do zoológico, por exemplo, e dar voz aos animais, um publico que nunca foi realmente ouvido”, explica Silvana Andrade, diretora de jornalismo. Com o passar dos anos, o “jornalismo animalista” foi ganhando espaço na mídia, e hoje o trabalho da ANDA pode ser encontrado nos maiores e mais acessados veículos de notícias do Brasil. Uma prova do sucesso da agência é o número de acessos mensais de seu site, que ultrapassa 1,5 milhão – o objetivo é dobrar esse número no próximo ano, segundo Silvana.

A ANDA caminha para o seu aniversário de 8 anos
A ANDA caminha para o seu aniversário de 8 anos

Projetos da ANDA

Além da agência de notícias, a ANDA tem outros projetos voltados à causa animal: graças à intercessão da organização no poder público, um projeto de lei foi criado em São Paulo para a criação de dois hospitais veterinários públicos. Além disso, a ANDA possui uma ambulância UTI gratuita para recolher animais doentes de rua ou de pessoas sem recursos, a Nina Móvel. 

A Comunidade Horyou dá boas-vindas à ANDA e torce para o sucesso dessa parceria!

Por Vívian Soares

GMB Akash is a socially engaged documentary photographer and an award winning photojournalist, focusing on people on the edge of society. He has covered sensitive topics such as child labour, prostitution and the tough reality of seasonal workers throughout Asia. He has won numerous awards and his work has been published in countless magazines worldwide. His work is very much appreciated as it shows the strength and resilience of human beings.

GMB Akash
GMB Akash

1. You are one of the best and most inspirational photographers from Bangladesh. What is it that motivates you?

Coming from a background where there was little space for adopting a creative process created difficult circumstances for me. People around me had no idea about photojournalism. At that time parents supported you even if you wanted to be an artist, illustrator or an actor/singer. But ‘photojournalist’ did not exist in the circles I was brought up in. Many days I did not eat to save my pocket money for my photography. I used my tuition to buy films. Even some time when I had no film in my camera and had no money in pocket, I never stopped clicking. I kept clicking knowing I had no film inside my camera. Because I know I had to achieve my dream. Nothing could stop me except myself, so I kept walking. And still now every day I dream to achieve my dream.

2. How do you prepare yourself to a particular photo shoot?

I move from here to there. In any of my projects I never show my camera first, I mix with people, I try to become one of them. I travel randomly even a single place only to grab their story inside me. My main concentration is to focus on people who are suffering eternally and dying everyday in the struggle for life. Countries which are similar to mine carry moreover the same scenarios. I think in every country all those sufferers are living the same life; whatever the culture is but the pain is as same and plain as others. I go for covering all hardship of lives around the world. Any human story which strengthens me is my project. I am in an endless journey towards an infinite route, only to find a real world of humanity. This thirst is eternal. I will keep walking, touching every face I drop through my lens. I will show the world – those unknown stories of sufferings. If a single hand comes to give them a shade that will be the real honor to my sweat.

Refugee family
Refugee family

3. Most of your pictures document the routine of poor people in developing countries like Bangladesh. How do you think your work affects their lives?

My photographs made me a better human being. I encountered such incredible stories that changed me entirely. It’s given me the power to reach millions of hearts. More importantly, it enables me to help hundreds of people who I meet in my journey. I dedicated my second book ‘Survivors’ to the survivors who are in my photographs. I gifted businesses to these survivors’ families which are challenging them to bring a better tomorrow. We together fight against the poverty and with my financial help 26 families won over their hunger and acute poverty. The entire income from my photography school First Light Institute of Photography goes to giving education to unprivileged children. We reached more than 500 children so far. In my career I am often faced with one question which is asked by me and by audiences: what have I done for the people who I photographed? Obviously telling their tale is my main job but still year after years of seeing their same circumstances I felt depressed and hated the situation. I started helping survivors, street children, homeless people and elderly citizens. I believe it is my duty as a photographer to point my lens in the face of deprivation and also offer a hand to the people who are dying without help. This is the best reward I get from photography that opens my heart and lets me give love as well as give whatever resources I have.

The photojournalist focuses on people on the edge of society
The photojournalist focuses on people on the edge of society

4. Which artist inspires you the most?

James Natchway and many more who ask the world to wake up.

5. As a winner of many awards, how important is it to be recognized as an artist?

I have received more than 100 international awards so far. My works were also published in more than 100 prestigious magazines and newspapers. My exhibitions have held all over the world. Recognition always works as great inspiration but appreciation from people is like inspiration for more achievements. Awards inspire me to go ahead. But my main award is when I reach to the people with my stories and open up a path to bring positive changes on those fates less people’s lives.

GMB Akash photos are full of impact and meaning
GMB Akash photos are full of impact and meaning

6. I see images from you on social media every day. Where do you get so much motivation from?

When people tell me I pierced their hearts with my photographs or that I moved them, these are so much inspirations to go ahead. I feel it’s positive when after seeing these photos people take a step, even realizing their situation can help. I believe many of us are definitely indebted to them who are working for us in bad conditions. One day we will all gather against such crimes. Children will go to schools instead of factories; no more parents will sell their daughter in brothels. Yes, I am doing my part and I will do until voices raise and hands come out. The important thing to me is that I am in fight to change it. And already I am finding many people beside me in this cause. I am grateful that all my friends from all around the world always have enjoyed going through my sphere.

"In every country all those sufferers are living the same life"
“In every country all those sufferers are living the same life”

7. What new projects are you working on?

I am working on my upcoming book, ‘Angels in Hell’. I plan to publish this photo series in the form of a book and will try to use it as a source of continual funding for our unprivileged children’s’ education. We believe that when many small people in many small places do many small things, they can change the face of the world.

8. You are on Horyou, the Social Network for Social Good. What does to Dream, Act and Inspire mean to you?

Dream – Reason of life Act – Fight for dream Inspire – People who are fighting for life with a smile

Written by Sushma Brelle

Una de las organizaciones latinoamericanas más activas en nuestra plataforma Horyou, Conexión Cultura Errante es un grupo con proyectos multidisciplinarios: sus miembros son activistas en el ámbito de la cultura, el medioambiente, el arte y la educación. En entrevista para el blog de Horyou, Jaime Velasco Meunier habla del colectivo a nombre de todo el equipo que trabaja desde el estado de Veracruz en México.

Conexión Cultura Errante es un grupo con proyectos multidisciplinarios
Conexión Cultura Errante es un grupo con proyectos multidisciplinarios

1. ¿Cómo nació la idea de Conexión Cultura Errante?

Conexión Cultura Errante A.C. está conformada por un grupo de amigos que hemos trabajado juntos (aunque de manera intermitente) en diferentes proyectos de índole artístico-cultural desde hace dos décadas o un poco más. Lo hemos venido haciendo en revistas literarias, grupos musicales o proyectos enfocados a promoción de la lectura, etcétera.

Como asociación civil llevamos conformados tres años. La idea central de nosotros es la promoción, difusión y defensa de la libertad de expresión, y como consecuenciaactividades relacionadas con cualquier forma de expresión cultural y/o artística. También tenemos otras actividades que parecieran no estar tan relacionadas entre sí como son la promoción de software libre, programas de activación física, o por ejemplo talleres para el cuidado del medioambiente, que en realidad responden a lo que nosotros entendemos por desarrollo humano sostenible.

2. ¿Cuáles son sus principales proyectos?

Tenemos dividas nuestras actividades de la siguiente manera. Cultura Errante. Lo consideramos un conjunto de medios cuya finalidad es la promoción, difusión y defensa de la libre expresión. Está conformado por: dos blogs , un canal de Youtube , audiopodcast y una revista digital .

ActivaMente es un programa de activación física creado por nuestro compañero Jesús García y tiene la finalidad de ayudar a todas las personas interesadas en iniciarse en la práctica regular de actividades físicas. Se creó un plan de entrenamiento y acompañamiento, los cuales han dado excelentes resultados. Opción libre es el proyecto donde promovemos, difundimos y enseñamos el uso de software libre y opciones tecnológicas alternativas. Entorno es un proyecto orientado al cuidado del medioambiente con un enfoque social, vinculándonos con otras asociaciones que están en defensa de los ríos, contra la privatización del agua y otros recursos naturales, el fracking y otras prácticas similares que resultan aberrantes.

3. La organización Conexión Cultura Errante ha trabajado con temas de tecnología, como software libre y educación informática. ¿Por que la opción por este enfoque?

La educación debe ser libre y gratuita para todos. Uno de los principales problemas sobre todo en México (y en gran parte del mundo) es que se invierte muy poco en esta área y como lógica consecuencia existen muchas escuelas con carencias económicas espantosas. La educación tecnológica es muy necesaria, imprescindible en esta era digital; una escuela que a veces no tienen ni aulas, menos tendrá para pagar equipo de cómputo nuevo y mucho menos licencias privativas como las de Microsoft. La ventaja del software libre, además de ser gratuito, es que se adapta a cualquier equipo, por obsoleto que sea y funciona bien. Todo lo que pueden ver en Cultura Errante ha sido creado con software libre. Uno de los proyectos que tengo en mente es recabar equipo de cómputo, restaurarlo, instalarle software libre y donarlo a las escuelas que lo requieran e incluso enseñar a los niños a hacer esto para que ellos puedan replicarlo en el futuro.

El equipo de reportaje de la revista en las calles mexicanas
El equipo de la revista reportando en las calles mexicanas

4. La revista es muy comprometida con temas sociales y ambientales. ¿Cuál es la idea detrás de este proyecto de comunicación?

La revista es el resultado de la participación de muchas personas, nosotros sólo somos los compiladores. La gente crea Cultura Errante con sus textos, fotos y diseños. La idea es darle oportunidad a todo aquel que desee participar la libertad para expresarse, es un espacio abierto en el cual todos pueden aportar. Cultura Errante digital es libre y gratuita, creada completamente con software libre. La revista es el reflejo de lo que es Conexión Cultura Errante A.C., está dividida en cuatro segmentos que son justo las áreas en las que nos enfocamos y representa en mucho la ideología de la asociación y sus integrantes.

5. ¿Cuáles son los principales objetivos de Conexión Cultura Errante para 2016?

Justo ahora está apunto de salir impreso el primer número de Cultura Errante (en versión fanzine). Era uno de los objetivos que no habíamos podido concretar. Tenemos el plan de crear una editorial para autores nuevos, pues ya contamos con cinco libros editados pero nos hace falta imprimirlos. No tenemos los recursos económicos para esto, pero lo lograremos. Este es un objetivo prioritario en este momento. Queremos consolidar el canal de Youtube porque es un medio increíble para la difusión de ideas y proyectos.

Otro objetivo para este año 2016 es el de vincularlos con otras organizaciones tanto nacionales como internacionales y establecer mecanismos de colaboración. También unos de los objetivos fundamentales, aunque banal, es la de crear proyectos que permitan a la asociación ser autosustentable económicamente,incluso buscando recursos económicos externos. Es un tema de lo más superficial pero desafortunadamente necesario.

6. Horyou es una red social que tiene como filosofía Soñar, Inspirar y Actuar. ¿Qué significan estas palabras para Conexión Cultura Errante?

Soñar es, por decirlo de alguna manera, un requisito indispensable para todos aquellos que nos dedicamos al trabajo comunitario y quizás el sueño recurrente deberá ser el de crear un mundo mejor, más justo e igualitario. El trabajo que realicemos será la mejor fuente de inspiración para otras personas, no podemos perder mucho tiempo pensando en el cómo o en una fórmula que resulte inspiradora, eso correspondería más al ego y éste es el peor enemigo del trabajo social. Actuar es la consecuencia de lo soñado. De lo previamente imaginado. Hay muchas cosas que podemos hacer para mejorar nuestro entorno. Si en verdad queremos construir un mejor mundo para todos, cualquier lugar es bueno para empezar: la calle donde vivimos, la colonia, la comunidad e incluso nuestra familia.
Creo que lo primero es enfocarse en lo que esta a nuestro alrededor, lo que cotidianamente vivimos.

7. Dejen un comentario para la comunidad Horyou.

La idea de crear un espacio como Horyou es maravillosa, un punto de encuentro en donde se pueden intercambiar ideas y conocimientos,con la finalidad de alcanzar el bien común. Nosotros hemos contactado algunas organizaciones e individuos a través de esta plataforma e iniciamos algunas colaboraciones (para empezar en la revista). Creemos que es posible aprovechar mucho esta oportunidad para estar más en contacto y enriquecernos mutuamente con el trabajo y conocimiento de los demás e implementar lo aprendido en nuestras comunidades. Al final de cuenta estamos todos aquí para seguir luchando por un mundo mejor.

Por Vívian Soares

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