Let’s Talk About… Trees, Greta and Corcovado
For as long as I remember, I have always been drawn to nature.
I think a lot of people are. There’s a pull that feels otherworldly. You can see the ocean breathing in and out, you can hear the trees whispering, and feel the heartbeat of the Earth warming your soul. The tingle in air just before a storm, the smell in a field of wildflowers, the power and gentle temperament of endless cooperation that can’t quite be fathomed entirely.
But when people discuss what nature can teach us, there is often some metaphoric sentiment or symbolic gesture. People don’t really look, really look. But like many natural treasures that are taken for granted, the world is burning (symbolically and literally) and is under constant threat by our actions…or rather, our inaction.
2019 was one of those years when we simultaneously felt that the world we know will inevitably come to an end and a soul-level hope that the future wasn’t lost after all.
A few years ago, I found a man on the internet by the name of Dave Erasmus. He was thinking about the world in a refreshing way, thinking about how the world worked and trying to see behind the veil to understand how we can be better and live better. He inspired me in a way few people had.
He soon nurtured a global community together called Corcovado. It was inspired by the Corcovado National Park located in Costa Rica – a rainforest offering the pinnacle of biodiversity. It’s teaming with fauna and flora that thrive in this rich ecosystem; An ideal example of a cooperative space of coexistence.
Our Corcovado community wants to learn and collaborate and grow and flourish and live. We want to take lessons from one another, from nature, from the world around us, and help each other through stories, friendship and experience.
Corcovado, if nothing else, provides a space for people to be human and share their love of the environment, the arts, the sciences and more. One of the huge benefits is how this community unknowingly helped me through an existential crisis. But to be honest with you, I couldn’t really tell you exactly what’s happening with it now. Like a lot of things in life, my heavy involvement in the community died down; life got in the way.
That’s funny when you think about it, that life got in the way of something I really enjoyed being a part of…and that’s not to say Corcovado left me completely, because it didn’t. No, I took the passion I saw in that community and applied to all parts of my life. I felt empowered and more like myself than I ever had. It’s true, as well, that I was pleased to see Corcovado every now and then in my timeline – people sharing and creating and supporting each other – it made me somehow feel connected in the silence.
I was glad to see the SWIRL TOUR 2019 kicking off a few months ago, which in turn made me sad at the fact I had fallen so out of touch. Last year I was actively engaging with others in the community, and a driving force for the social media during the SWIRL TOUR 2018…and this year, my new job got in the way and I was so far removed that it kind of ached.
But Corcovado has a type of magic, one that means it never really leaves you, and that the very essence of Corcovado isn’t even in a group that has a name, but in the individuals who share values and accept differences. Corcovado, as a global state of mind, was never really in one place anyway. So now, we all take it to our own corners of the world and come together every now and then to share our experiences.
You’re probably wondering why I’m bring this up. The answer is one connected to a much bigger trend: As far as I’m concerned, 2019 was the year when a sixteen-year-old stood tall in a beautiful display of bravery on behalf of a generation, hell, on behalf of humanity and the damn planet.
2019 was the year of Greta Thunberg, and I pray that the history books reflect as much.
She got angry because we should all be angry. She made climate change discourse reverently stay in the mainstream and in the front of everyone’s minds. The time to act is now for those who hadn’t been fighting for the planet they mistakenly think can be replaced when it dies; because it will die and probably take us down along the way.
But the cause for this article was not directly related to Greta, although, now that I’m writing, there was almost certainly influence. One day, back at the start of October, I saw a tree planting initiative. I was incredibly proud of my friend Dave, and of CorcoCreators, for taking the future and the environment into their own hands. They successfully secured 1000 trees with planting starting in December. This was a small community effort, but one with big impacts.
On the other side of the scale, at the end of October, MrBeast – a YouTuber with nearly 30 million subscribers – listened to the demands of his fans who wanted his celebration for hitting 20 million subscribers to involve planting 20 million trees. Teaming up with Mark Rober he made it happen with a challenge announced to plant 20 million trees by 2020. #teamtrees was born with the help of Arbor Day Foundation where $1 was 1 tree to be planted in the near future.
As news of the challenge spread and with only two months to complete, the power of the internet and the proof that many hands make light work, saw the challenge complete on December 20th, 2019. This came with the help of large donations from MrBeast himself, Elon Musk, Tobias Lutke (Shopify CEO), Susan Wojcicki (YouTube CEO), Jack Dorsey (Twitter CEO), YouTubers including Lazarbeam, Pewdiepie and Jeffree Star and many others companies and people lending a few dollars to help a worthy cause.
The power of public synergy is nothing to be laughed about.
Earlier in the year, for example, Lil Dicky released a song with a bunch of celebrity cameos about loving the Earth. Arguably not the biggest single in terms of sales or charts, it was yet another moment in 2019 that triggered environmental discussions in popular culture in a viral moment and raised money for charity.
Musicians, actors and everything in between have been using their platforms to send a message, and the difference this year is that people were finally listening to the Leonardo DiCaprio’s of the world. The pun in all of this, is that the biggest global trend in popular culture this year was anxiety around climate change.
We have never been more vocal, and this year we have shown that each of us can play a role in our future, for the people still here when we pass and for the Earth.
Together we can make a change.
We should all be a little bit more like Greta; Brave with a fire burning inside all of us.
So, what’s my hope for 2019? That people make the effort to educate themselves, to learn from others, to be optimistic, to make new friends, to nourish the relationships they have, and to forgive enemies (because hate is heavy). I hope people find the balance between taking time for themselves and supporting others. I wish they could discover new passions and make a promise to create in every way, shape and form. I want people to achieve their goals, no matter how small, and to inspire, and be inspired by the world around them – that it’s not the situation you’re in, but how you deal with it. Every experience is a lesson, and whether it’s one person or a community or the internet or the world, I think we should always strive to leave things better than the way we found it.
My first stop is to wave in the new year with the promise to connect more, to chat more with my friends that aren’t in the same city as me, to fight for what I believe in, to give my work and my passions equal stead in my life, and to continuing dreaming.
Until 2020 – Naomi Eleanor