When it comes to nature, we all share the same goals
Author: Ellen Van, Principal, Mekong Capital
August 23, 2023
I have 3 beliefs that, on a challenging day, would help me be grateful that my work is aligned with my purpose: 1) Nature heals 2) When we replenish nature, we create values for ourselves and future generations 3) We share the same goals.
1. Nature heals.
I believe that nature has the ability to heal the body and soul and that all living things should have access to and the right to enjoy nature. Nature also has the ability to heal itself, to regenerate, we just need to give her the chance. We are a piece of nature, our health and well-being are interconnected with the wellbeing of our environment and we cannot thrive without the whole ecosystem thriving.
2. When we replenish nature, we create values for ourselves and future generations.
The planet has given us plentiful natural assets that we have been extracting, almost for free. If we take into account to cost of the natural assets a lot of the investments, we believed to be profitable might not be sustainable. And on the reserve, if we invest in replenishing natural assets, then we have created values for ourselves and our future generations.
3. We share the same goals.
I once told a friend that I was working in investing and promoting sustainable forestry and regenerative agriculture and he was perplexed, “Why? That makes no money”. At first, it may seem like he and I want different things. But we don’t, we both agreed that wealth is not only measured by money but also our health and wellbeing, our ability to enjoy nature and time with our loved ones. We are working towards the same goal.
Interestingly we were also having this discussion over a meal. We consume agricultural products daily, yet sometimes there is a disconnect between what we purchase and the farmers and farms in which they are grown. When there is a connection, there is gratitude. Gratitude for the flowers and the pollinators. Gratitude for the farmers and their families. Gratitude for the soil and nutrients on which they are grown.
I get asked questions about pesticides and chemicals – are they the enemy? Absolutely not, there is no doubt that these chemical innovations have helped increase the productivity of farms all over the world. However, it did come at a cost, the cost of the health of the farmers, the soil, and all of us consumers. The first person impacted by the use of chemicals is the farmers themselves. A farmer shared that when they reduced the use of chemicals on their farm they experienced less skin rashes, so the benefit for them is immediate.
Another question I get asked is “Isn’t it challenging to get these farmers to change to regenerative practices?” Farmers, most of whom have lived on their land all their lives, know exactly what their land needs, the care, and the nurture that it requires for the land to generate an income that can take care of their family. Healthy soil, forest, and ecosystem is a pathway to increasing the productivity of their land.
It seems there are many questions, coming from the assumption that we want different things. But I believe, at the core, we share the same goals. And I will continue to do my part and together with you, achieve our shared goals.