Authored by Simone Carolina Bauch.
As I lay on my bed on the first night aboard the Island Sky, I could feel the ship moving up and down with the waves. With my eyes closed I remembered I had the same feeling many years back during my PhD fieldwork in the Amazon, when I spent three weeks on board a much smaller ship with a team of six interns. I was there to coordinate and do interviews with communities living along the Tapajos River. We were assessing the impact of internationally funded, community-led projects aimed at integrating conservation of the tropical forest with improved livelihoods for the people that live there.
Over the almost 20 years since then it seems that, despite the climate and environment crises becoming more acute, the proposed solutions are still not at the scale they need to be to seriously tackle these issues. For example, the Tapajos river – which is usually 10km wide – has dried to half of that due to this year’s El Nino event coupled with climate change effects. At the same time, in Antarctica, invasive species are thriving in a delicate environment that, until recently, was too harsh for them but is also now rapidly warming.
Fragile environments and human, animal and plant communities, are and will be the first and most affected by climate change. This is why I joined Homeward Bound: to see firsthand the impacts of climate change in the southernmost part of the world and to find more compelling and ambitious solutions to deal with the pressing problems of climate change and environmental degradation. To me these issues are very dear and close to my heart, as I see climate models and the difficulties of on-the-ground implementation of mitigation and adaptation projects in many countries. Also, in my hometown the rainy season should have started in late September, and it is still so dry. We need to accept that the world is changing, and climate change is here to stay. We need to get our act together to respond!
Photo Credit: Simone Carolina Bauch