Photo by Ron Lach

Nature is in crisis, and the crisis is anything but natural. Plant and animal species are vanishing from the earth at an alarming rate while many human beings maintain the bewildering belief that we are separate from nature rather than of nature and wholly dependent on it. With a million species at risk of extinction, dozens of countries are pushing to protect at least 30% of the planet’s land and water by 2030. 

Many groups have been accused of being the cause of nature’s destruction, from fossil fuel companies and wealthy countries to politicians, rich people, and the rest of us – collectively the nearly 7.8 billion people who call Earth home.

The problems facing the planet and its inhabitants seem intractable, both for their size and for the political will and global cooperation needed to tackle them. In its first year, the Biden administration, leading the world’s largest economy and second largest carbon polluter, has put efforts behind righting some of the worse environment-related policies of the previous administration and staking out an ambitious direction for a greener future; however, it remains to be seen whether it will be enough and soon enough, and whether legislative support will come through. In China, the world’s second largest economy and second largest carbon polluter, the government is attempting to ensure clear skies for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics – and hopefully beyond amid power shortages and a population that is increasingly concerned about its country’s environmental policies.

Litro’s Nature issue aims to gather multiple perspectives that explore the roots of the crisis as well as its present and future in our everyday lives: What have we done, and why? What should our relationship to nature be? How will future generations – assuming there are future generations – see our dillydallying in the late 20th and early 21st centuries? Are we doomed? Is there any hope for hope?

Join us for a collection of stories and essays that explore and celebrate nature, worry over the future of the planet, and seek answers to some of the most pressing questions of our time.

Eric Akoto

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