The planet is burning and this winter we are cold in our own homes. The year 2022 will have presented us with its share of paradoxes and challenges – diplomatic, economic, human, climatic, energetic… Unsurprisingly, the environmental issue remains top of the agenda with an ever-growing sense of urgency. Our response at Equestrio Foundation? To listen to the cries for help, to act, and to communicate in order to give echo to our combats.
In this article, Alicia Heiniger looks back on 2022, a very active year during which we definitely continued to raise the decibels!
When together, we shout louder
According to Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), the word of the year 2022 for French-speaking Switzerland is “to boycott”, just ahead of “sobriety” and “breathing”. Beyond political or ideological considerations, what does this word evoke? Action. Paradoxically, refusing to “do” stands as a powerful act! Boycotting means committing at one’s very own level, often far from the decision-making powers, to give voice to the things one believes in.
What strikes me in this research is that the word that tops the list is one of conviction and commitment which refers to the idea that each individual action, put together, can have a tremendous impact. I deeply believe in this virtuous energy, which is at the heart of everything we undertake at Equestrio Foundation.
In 2022, we continued to take action, on our own level, by supporting strong projects led by beautiful people determined to make a difference for the environment and wildlife. We are happy to have had a concrete impact on the causes we upheld.
We’ve financed 13 projects in Switzerland and abroad, shared between new partners (Odyssée des Lacs, Gostomel Shelter, YouCare, On est prêt, Gorilla, Mountain Riders), and associations for which we’ve renewed our support (Lampedusa Turtle Rescue, Elephant Haven, Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre, ASL, Plantons Utile, Centre Athénas, Apidaé). Our objective remains, when relevant, to establish long-term partnerships.
Reforesting the mangrove in Senegal, helping stray pets, preserving the waters of Swiss lakes, saving gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo, caring for zoo elephants or injured sea turtles…we have been involved in a variety of fields contributing to the safeguard of our biodiversity. Through each of our projects, we are reminded more and more that now is the time to take action.
Protecting our biodiversity means saving ourselves
The COP15 on biodiversity, which is less talked about but just as critical as its counterpart on climate change, has just come to a close with what is described as a once-in-a-decade deal. The agreement includes in particular the commitment to preserve 30% of the planet for nature and restore 30% of the planet’s degraded terrestrial and marine ecosystems by 2030.
This decision is merely a minimal response to the urgency of the situation. One million species are threatened with extinction and 75% of land-based environment has been altered by human actions. Our biodiversity is in danger and preserving it is not just about generosity or mere sensitivity to the beauty of our environment. Ecosystems are paramount to our lives! It’s thanks to biodiversity that we can eat, drink and breathe. More than half of the world’s GDP depends on nature and its services, an interdependence that is not always perceived on its true scale.
Still time to make peace with nature
We must make peace with nature. This means of course protecting it, but above all – stopping destroying it. And it is not too late!
Our ecosystems have a tremendous power of regeneration: when relieved from pressure, they quickly regain their rightful place. Just like the panda, the otter, the crocodile, the chameleon and the screech owl, which reappeared after years of extinction. Yes, in spite of an alarming backdrop, there is still room for good news! We could also mention this year’s ban by the French government on all deep-sea mining from November 2022 or its decision, along with some thirty other countries, to halt the funding of fossil fuel projects, thereby joining Switzerland, which committed to this principle in 2021.
At Equestrio Foundation, we choose never to give up – neither on fighting nor on optimism. We consider these inroads as means of inspiration for our work and as a driving force for the year ahead.
Looking ahead to 2023
In 2023, I am firmly set on continuing my battle to protect biodiversity, in particular by increasing the range of projects supported, my goal being to reach a maximum of people, in line with their affinities. My aim is to enable our donors to fund projects that truly speak to them.
Equestrio Foundation in action
All of my encounters, discoveries and contributions inspire me to do more. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to interact with incredible people who are totally dedicated to the collective good. Their generosity fuels my commitment.
In 2023, I’ve decided to be more active in the field by our partners’ sides. An irresistible urge to roll up my sleeves even more and to experience the impact of our donations on the spot! This first-hand participation, which you’ll be able to follow through the new web series “Equestrio Foundation in action“, will also be an opportunity for us to define more specifically the needs of our partner associations thereby ensuring that our donations meet their goals with maximum impact.
Let’s continue to act, together
I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to all those who, through their donations and initiatives, enable us to pursue our actions. Your generosity is our power. In these times of energy sobriety, we are confident that you will be able to use your energy productively to help sustain the balance of nature! We need your donations to continue and to enhance our actions. Help us to help nature.
Each action counts. In 2023, let’s make change happen and raise our voices louder-together!
Pictures Bertille Fonteneau and Noam Yaron
 «Boycotter» is the word of the year 2022 for French-speaking Switzerland, Le temps, November 2022
 According to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the equivalent of the IPCC on biodiversity issues.
World Economic Forum, 2020 Report.