Resilience

Resilience

noun

1.the ability to spring back into shape; elasticity

2.the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties

On Earthbound, I often find myself in conversations about resilience; the resilience of people; the resilience of wildlife; and the resilience of agriculture. Whether it be on the island of Lesbos where refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, and many other places, are piling up on the beaches trying to find a safe haven, or Sumatra where the forests are being burnt to the ground causing a thick haze that the people are having to endure for months on end, or the strength of the olive tree (lasting up to 2000 years); this subject has been a huge part of my life for the last couple months.

Here in Greece, the people are particularly surprising when it comes to resilience. For the past year, the people who live here have been dealing with a huge problem: refugees. People were already in an economic crisis from their countries enormous debt, and then some were forced to quit their jobs because the tourism was down and this is a tourism-based economy. The situation is/was relentless with refugees still piling up the people should be freaking out, right? Wrong. The locals are doing amazing work to stop the crisis including washing clothing that is left on the beach and returning to the beaches for other refugees (Dirty Girls of Lesbos) and donating food and water for the volunteers to give out on the beach. The people are bouncing back better than ever to help the refugees (most of whom are now in camps).

But enough about refugees, let’s talk about something way closer to home for me – the burning of rainforests in Indonesia. Over the past (approximately two years) the burning of the rainforests for conflict palm oil has come to a critical point of potential mass extinctions, extreme health problems to the people and animals surrounding. But, most importantly it is one of the number one contributors to climate change in the world right now, as shown in the film ‘The Years of Living Dangerously’. People are working hard to get their message out to the world, through; journalism, tourism, and photography. They bounce back to their norms pretty easily and are still fighting for the simple right of fresh air.  

I am writing this from Greece and all around me, there are  olive trees: a Greek tradition and a necessity in their culture. Olives are meaty, salty and delicious, but the tree is also amazing. The oldest olive tree is eleven thousand years old. And the hardiness of the tree enables it to grow in extremely dry conditions like Greece. The olive tree, to me, represents the resilience in all cultures, not only human cultures but ancient ecosystems as well.

From the olive tree to the rainforests in Indonesia, and refugees fleeing war from Syria to the local Greek communities receiving them at the other end, resilience is a theme throughout what I have seen this month. My adventuring has put a filter of resilience over my eyes and I hope that after this blog post you have the ability to do so as well.

Written By: Xochi Luz

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