Safeguarding our irreplaceable ancient and endangered forests (interview with Nicole Rycroft of Canopy)
This is a conversation on Green Dreamer with Kaméa Chayne, a podcast exploring environmental regeneration and intersectional sustainability from ideas to life. Subscribe to Green Dreamer on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or any podcast app to stay informed and up to date on our latest episodes.
Nicole Rycroft (@nicolerycroft1)—the recipient of an Ashoka Fellowship, a Canadian Environment Award Gold Medal and numerous conservation and publishing industry awards—is the founder and Executive Director of Canopy (@canopyplanet), an international nonprofit organization that works collaboratively with over 750 companies to protect our ancient and endangered forests.
On this podcast episode, Nicole sheds light on our urgency to protect our remaining ancient and endangered forests from further deforestation; why we need to be wary of buying new clothes and textiles made of rayon and viscose, even if they're sourced from sustainably managed forests; whether we should compost old paper or wood products into soil or recycle them into new material; and more.
To start, get a glimpse below into the conversation between Nicole and Green Dreamer Podcast's host, Kaméa Chayne.
On the common driver of human rights violations and environmental destruction:
"I spent two years in southeast Asia traveling and doing volunteer work. Part of that time, I spent volunteering on the Burmese border, documenting the link between human rights violations and environmental degradation.
Through that work and the interviews I did with child soldiers and civilians who had been dislocated by civil war, it crystallized for me that it didn't really matter whether it was human rights violations or environmental degradation—it was all happening under the rubric of the global economy.
That unsustainable demand was driving environmental destruction as well as undermining human rights in many parts of the world."
On our insatiable, unsustainable demand of natural resources:
"There are 150 million trees that disappear into viscose and rayon fabrics every year.
That's slated to double in the next decade, which makes viscose and rayon one of the most aggressive growing threats to forest ecosystems around the world."
On why ancient and endangered forests are irreplaceable:
"Ancient and endangered forests are irreplaceable.
They are the foundation for life on earth: They are the lungs of the planet; they provide us with clean air and clean water; they play a critical role in rain cycles; they stabilize our climate and are home to millions of species that we share this planet with…
And they are also incredibly beautiful—the canopy of the forest has been the inspiration for the cathedrals of Europe.
Ancient and endangered forests are critical for the climate. They store 45% of carbon that's stored on land, and they have superior carbon storage capacity."
Nicole’s closing words of wisdom:
"Having come from a background of being a physiotherapist an elite level athlete, I knew nothing about running an environmental organization. You don't need to have a PhD.
Our times call on us to take that fire we feel in our bellies and put it into action.
Be audacious, ask for what you want, and you just might get it."
Green Dreamer is supported by our listener patrons and podcast partner Buffy, which makes comforters that are better for you and the earth, using lyocell, a skin-friendly eucalyptus fabric as the cover and fluffy fill made from 100% BPA-free recycled water bottles. Try it for free and use “greendreamer” for $20 off.