Mangroves in Crisis: Why One Man Works to Save the Plants That Fight Climate Disruption

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photo credit: magrove.at

Author: Dahr Jamail

It’s not news that anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) is accelerating at unprecedented rates, according to climate scientists. Fifteen of the 16 hottest years ever recorded have occurred since 2000, and this year is on track to be the hottest year ever recorded — by far. And the pace of planetary warming is only increasing, as is made dramatically clear in this recently published graphic.

Hence, the need to do everything possible to work towards mitigating this crisis is obvious. There is no way to completely reverse the trend, but as more and more people acknowledge our shared moral responsibility to mitigate the impacts, some are uncovering creative strategies for fighting planetary warming. For instance, an unlikely epiphany led one man towards an effort to preserve and protect mangrove forests, a tactic that would not necessarily be most folks’ first tactic to address climate disruption.

In 1992, Alfredo Quarto was in southern Thailand working on an article about fisherfolk when he became aware that mangrove forests were under threat by the shrimping aquaculture industry.

“The common threat I saw to all these local farmers [was] outside investors who were destroying both their lands and livelihoods by destroying the mangrove forests they depended upon in order to make more shrimp farms,” Quarto told Truthout. “I was deeply moved by a village headman whose father had been murdered by a local shrimp mafia because he defied their cutting down the mangroves.”

Quarto said that the man told him, “If there are no mangrove forests, then the sea will have no meaning. It is like having a tree with no roots, for the mangroves are the roots of the sea.”

The man’s words made a profound impact — in fact, they shifted the course of Quarto’s life. Quarto went on to become the cofounder and co-director of the Mangrove Action Project (MAP), whose aim is the preservation and protection of mangrove forests around the world.

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