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Trees are all around the world - they provide shelter, food and wood.
Forests also play a crucial role in absorbing carbon dioxide and thus regulating the global climate. People have already deforested large swaths of the world, with consequences for ecosystems, plants and animals, and even humans themselves.
Around the world, local people fight to maintain their way of life and habitats. In Cameroon, the Baka people are being driven out of their forests by logging and mining. In the US, a new lithium mine threatens to infringe on Indigenous sacred sites. And in Sierra Leone, an expensive, internationally-funded industrial fishing habor could ruin residents' livelihoods and the local ecosystem.
While his neighbors were busy clearing their land, John Ole Saeni decided to maintain part of the natural forest on his rural property. The retired teacher's efforts have created a little oasis for three zebras who would usually migrate to greener pastures.
In the Congo Basin in central Africa, in current-day Cameroon, the Indigenous Baka people live an increasingly precarious existence. Believed to be the oldest inhabitants of this area, the Baka have an extraordinary knowledge about the ancient forest. But as logging and mining chip away at the forests ever more, the livelihoods and life force of the Baka people become harder and harder to sustain.
On the Freetown peninsula in Sierra Leone, the government is planning to construct a Chinese-owned multi-million-dollar fishing harbor. But many residents and environmentalists are not happy about the project, worrying it will lead to eviction, job loss and pollution, as well as destroy a rich ecosystem that sits alongside a forest earmarked by the UN as a future World Heritage Site.
Most religions have a connection to the Earth – stories of creation or spiritual practices tied to nature. We take a look at how religion and spirituality influence how we treat the environment. From beliefs steeped in the forest to religious leaders motivating their congregants to take care of the planet. And what happens when holy sites are threatened by climate change and too many visitors?
Climate change and severe droughts have weakened forests around the globe. In Germany, where many forests are planted monocultures, about 80% of trees are considered unhealthy. What's even more alarming is that the forest dieback is also affecting younger trees now. So what happens if we lose our forests? And is there anything we can do to stop it?