Cool Earth

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Founded 2007
Founders Johan Eliasch and Frank Field
Type NGO
Focus Environmentalism, Conservation, Ecology
Area served Peru, Brazil, Ecuador
Method Collaboration
Key people Johan Eliasch, Frank Field, Mark Ellingham
Slogan Keeping Carbon Where it Belongs

Cool Earth is a UK-based international NGO that protects endangered rainforest in order to combat global warming, protect ecosystems and to provide employment for local people.[1]

The organisation receives its income through individual contributions from over 50,000 sponsors in order to secure specific tracts of endangered rainforest.[2] Through the Cool Earth website, an individual can sponsor an acre or half-acre of rainforest or adopt a single tree.[3] Less than 10% of Cool Earth's supporter income is spent on administration.[4]

Cool Earth is supported by notable people and organisations including Professor James Lovelock, Ricky Gervais, Ian Hislop, Professor Lord Stern, Tracy Chevalier, Jo Brand, Philip Pullman, Dr John Hemming and The Co-operative Bank.[5]


Cool Earth was founded in 2007 by entrepreneur Johan Eliasch and MP Frank Field out of their common interest in protecting the rainforest. They argued that it was unacceptable that the 20% of carbon emissions created by tropical deforestation[6] were ignored by the Kyoto protocol and that urgent, direct action was needed to put a stop to deforestation, lest it take up to twenty years to get an idea adopted by the political bureaucracy.[7]


Cool Earth's ethos is that rainforests should be more valuable intact than cut down. Their approach is to secure threatened rainforest that, within 18 months or less, would otherwise be sold to loggers and ranchers. The charity works with rainforest-based communities and employs local people to protect the forests, enabling them to get income from the forest without cutting it down.[8] This is done by securing a system of community rangers to monitor and report illegal activities, support biomonitoring of key animal species and foster positive community relationships.

Cool Earth currently has projects in Peru, Brazil and Ecuador. The charity argues that to be selected each project must fulfill the following criteria:

  • They are located where rainforest is immediately threatened by human activities like logging and cattle ranching;
  • Their location or their conservation acts as a protective blockade for the forest beyond them, ensuring optimum protection of forests;
  • They are mature rainforests with high levels of biodiversity.[9]

Cool Earth claims to have achieved the following by August 2008:

Importance of Rainforests[edit]

Rainforest destruction contributes to climate change. It accounts for more CO2 emissions than the entire transport sector.[10] In this way, rainforests play a fundamental role in keeping carbon locked away. Carbon stocks equivalent to more than a decade of global fossil fuel emissions are stored in the wood of the Amazon’s trees.[11] and it is estimated that the rise in CO2 in the past would have been 10% faster without the tropical forest carbon sink.[12]

Deforestation has a doubly-damaging effect on climate change: it not only releases into the atmosphere the carbon once contained in forest trees but also reduces the number of trees that can recover the carbon dioxide that humans produce.[13]

Rainforests provide essential functions beyond their carbon storage. They provide a home to 350 million people[14] and to two thirds of all living species on the planet. 90% of primates are found in tropical rainforest.[15] They also store water, generate rainfall and help to stabilize soil.[16]


External links[edit]