We believe that another world is possible. A world where human and nonhuman beings flourish alongside each other. A world where people are not masters of but part of what we call nature. For this to happen, we need a collective change of consciousness and to rebuild connectedness with the diversity of all life.
This world is an egalitarian world, as we cannot have sustained connectedness with nature without social equality. In this world, the stewards of nature are respected, awarded, and supported to continue doing what they do best and what sustains the lives of all of us.
Local and global economies will then truly be regenerative, nourishing both people and the planet. Nature will not be just a raw resource to be exploited and depleted so that a few people can profit while nature stewards remain in poverty. Trees will not just provide an ecosystem service or be just a carbon credit in an imbalanced and destructive capitalist system. Trees will be giving life both literally and metaphorically.
But how can we contribute to creating such a world?
To rekindle connectedness with nature, we can start by bringing more nature into the lives of everybody. Direct and conscious exposure to nature is paramount but fostering emotional and cognitive connections between people and nature in distant places is also important.
We also need to change how forest investment, restoration, and conservation organizations do ‘business.’ Restoration and conservation activities have to be carried forward by a global community of regeneration and connectedness. A community where the relationships between the stakeholders involved at the local, regional, and global level are based on trust, cooperation, and reciprocity. A first step towards this is full disclosure and transparency of nature interventions and open communication with all groups involved.
OpenForests emerged because we want to start co-creating and supporting such a community. We hope you will join us on this journey.
Our collective environmental consciousness is changing. This vision is not new and it resonates with many others. So feel free to take this manifesto, use it like a seed which you can share, plant, water, grow, and adapt within your community.