Global Series: Humans In Our Habitat

07/18/2017 12:00 pm ET Updated Jul 18, 2017
 Families at a tree planting day at Te Muri, New Zealand in June 2017
Greenfleet Australia/flickr, CC BY-SA
Families at a tree planting day at Te Muri, New Zealand in June 2017

On the whole, humanity has been devastating for planet Earth. But our fates are linked, and people, on our good days, can also be nature’s greatest defenders.

The Conversation Global’s series “Humans in our Habitat” tells the tales of conservation-minded communities, from rural Tibetans who’ve always understood the meaning of biodiversity to Bronx residents relearning how to respect their river.

A wastepicker working in the streets of Casablanca. (Photo Pascal Garret, July 2013), CC BY-NC-ND, CC BY-NC-ND

Despite being outcasts in Moroccan society, waste collectors defend their profession as protectors of the environment.

The Bronx River will never be the way it used to be, but it sure looks a lot better today than it did 20 years ago. RickShaw/flickr, CC BY-SA, CC BY-SA

We can’t return degraded landscapes to their original state but we can change the way people relate to their local environments. From New York to Romania, communities are joining forces to relearn how to live with nature.

A bunch of Khasi children fire-fighters watch on, as the flames erupt in a slash and burn episode. Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman, Author provided, Author provided

In north-east India, children of the Khasi Hills (Meghalaya) learn slash-and-burn cultivation, a centuries-old indigenous practice now opposed by the Indian government, which cites environmental degradation..

Gyala Peri and Namcha Barwa - Tibet. 梁逸晨/wikimedia, CC BY-SA, CC BY-SA

On the Tibetan plateau, the village of Yunta is showing that animals and humans can live peacefully together and care for one another.

The Whanganui River, seen here, is now a person under New Zealand law. AlexIndigo/Flickr, CC BY-ND, CC BY-ND

New Zealand just conferred personhood upon the Whanganui River, giving it standing to legally defend its rights. Can this novel strategy save the environment?

Catesby Holmes, Global Commissioning Editor, The Conversation; Clea Chakraverty, Commissioning Editor, The Conversation; Fabrice Rousselot, Global Editor, The Conversation, and Stephan Schmidt, Audience Developer, The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.