Cool Earth

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Cool Earth is a UK-based international non-governmental organization that protects endangered rainforest to combat global warming, protect ecosystems and provide sustainable jobs for local people.[1] Cool Earth also refers to a Japanese program generally called the "Cool Earth Partnership," inaugurated in 2007.

Cool Earth protects and secures rainforest under imminent threat of destruction, working with other NGOs. They work with local communities to ensure that they benefit from keeping the forest standing. Cool Earth has currently protected over 352,091 acres (1,424.86 km2) of rainforest. To distinguish itself from other conservation groups, Cool Earth claims that less than 10% of their supporter income is spent on administration.

Cool Earth is supported by scientists and celebrities 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.[2]

Cool Earth has a presence in sixteen countries which are affiliated to the UK-US Cool Earth Action. The global organisation receives its income through the individual contributions of over 50,000 sponsors who have secured specific tracts of endangered rainforest.[3]

History[edit]

Cool Earth was founded in 2007 by the businessman 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[4] were ignored by the Kyoto protocol [1] and that urgent, direct action was needed to put a stop to deforestation, as it could take up to 20 years to get an idea adopted by the political bureaucracy.[5] Both men wanted to enable individuals to sponsor a piece of the rainforest and be engaged directly in the rainforest’s preservation, helping to prevent climate change.

Activities[edit]

Cool Earth promotes the ethos that rainforests should be worth more standing than cut down. They claim to secure threatened rainforest that, within 18 months or less, would otherwise be sold to loggers and ranchers. The charity works with rainforest communities and employs local people to protect the forests which enables them to get income from the forest without cutting it down.[6] The charity works closely with Fauna and Flora International on their Awacachi project.[7]

In 2008 Cool Earth teamed up with Tropicana in the US and launched Rainforest Rescue, to help protect the Amazon rainforest. By buying specially marked packages of Tropicana Pure Premium Juice and redeeming the code on the package, supporters are able to save their own patch of the rainforest.[8]

Cool Earth is also affiliated with Red Sky snacks. For every 150g or 40g pack Red Sky sells, 10 sq ft (0.93 m2) or 5 sq ft (0.46 m2) of rainforest respectively is protected.[9]

Cool Earth is also supported by Brother printers who have protected 1000 acres of rainforest in partnership with Cool Earth. Other companies partnering with Cool Earth include Birmingham International Airport, the Co-operative Bank and Head.

Cool Earth also receives donations and is supported by various smaller companies such as coffee company www.office-coffee.co.uk, glue company www.bal-adhesives.co.uk, printing company www.printware.co.uk, martial arts shoe company www.yellowmountain.co.uk, and herbal supplier www.sexyherbs.co.uk.

Importance of Rainforests[edit]

Rainforest destruction is a huge contributor to climate change. It accounts for as many CO2 emissions as the USA – and more emissions than the entire transport sector.[10] On average, an area of the rainforest roughly the size of Los Angeles disappears every month.[11] Deforestation has a doubly damaging effect: it not only releases into the atmosphere the carbon contained in the trees that are cut down but also reduces the number of trees that can recover the carbon dioxide that humans produce.[12]

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.[13] It is estimated that the rise in CO2 in the past would have been 10% faster without the tropical forest carbon sink.[14]

Rainforests also provide many essential services beyond their carbon storage. They provide a home to 350 million people[15] and to two thirds of all living species on the planet. 90% of primates are found in tropical rainforests.[16] They regulate the climate, store water, generate rainfall and help stabilise the soil.[17] All this which we need to survive are under threat if forests are destroyed.

Current projects[edit]

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

  • They are located where rainforest is immediately threatened by human activities like logging and cattle ranching.
  • Either their location or their conservation acts as a protective blockade for the forest behind them, ensuring optimum protection of forests.
  • They are mature rainforests with high levels of biodiversity[18]

Awacahi Project

The rainforest of Ecuador has amongst the highest levels of biodiversity found anywhere on the planet.[19] The Awacachi Corridor, in the north west of Ecuador, is under threat of destruction by palm oil cultivation and logging activities.[20] Along with the area it adjoins, it reinforces the conservation of over 350,000 ha. of rainforest.[21]

Cool Earth invests in its protection system and in local community development that values forest conservation above forest destruction.

This is done by securing a system of community rangers to monitor and report illegal activities, support biological monitoring of key animal species and foster positive community relationships.

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

  • A further 4.5 hectares of guadua (native bamboo) had been planted in degraded areas surrounding the Awacachi Corridor. Only harvesting a portion of the bamboo helps regenerate forest cover by improving soils and water regulation. Increasing the amount of guadua planted also increases the number of families benefiting from this type of alternative income generation (each .5 ha benefits 1 family).
  • A further 4 hectares of cacao had been planted. The second harvest of cacao benefited 40 families by producing a yield 9,000kg, sold commercially at 2USD per kg. This was the first time the cacao could be sold commercially and from now on every harvest will produce similar yields, allowing families to have a consistent income. Other community members have asked to participate in the cacao programme.
  • The nurseries close to the communities of San Francisco and Durango now have 300 native bamboo seedlings and 500 cacao seedlings that are ready to be transferred to the various plantations.[22]

Ashaninka

Ashaninka lies in an arc of deforestation that is destroying some of the world's richest stores of forest carbon.[23] With local partners, including Ecotribal, Cool Earth is securing forest once held by logging concessions and opening it up to rubber tappers and harvesters of forest produce.

The Peruvian Amazon is experiencing rapid deforestation. Illegal loggers are devastating the rainforest resources of many tribal communities. Cool Earth's project with the Ashaninka tribe at Cutivireni prevents loggers from entering the community's forests and the neighbouring Ashaninka Communal Reserve which form a buffer zone for Otishi National Park.[24] In collaboration with Ecotribal, the Ashaninka chiefs at Cutivireni have offered their land for sponsorship through Cool Earth, allowing them to keep their forests intact and continue to live sustainably from their own land.[25]

This Cool Earth project protects endemic species and ecosystems of high biological value. Ashaninka forests abound in wildlife, including high numbers of macaws, toucans, many hummingbirds, spectacled bears, several monkey species, tapir, anteaters and big cats. The project area helps protect an international rainforest corridor which in turn protects rare and diverse habitats ranging across Peru and Bolivia.

Criticism[edit]

Cool Earth argues with their critics that they do not buy land, as has been wrongly suggested by some groups such as Survival International[26] but instead work with local trusts and communities to help secure land tenure rights for them and work with them to establish sustainable living without destroying the rainforest.[27] Cool Earth state that most of the indigenous communities they now work with have actively approached Cool Earth themselves or through groups such as Ecotribal and Fauna and Flora International who Cool Earth work with on their projects.

Cool Earth are adamant that their projects are not greenwash campaigns or enacting 'Green Colonialism' or Neocolonialism and agree with the various environmentalist groups and Indigenous Rights groups who raise awareness of the dangers 'Green Colonialism'.

'It's like a bucket of water in the North Sea: the amount of land that's being bought by outsiders is infinitesimally small, and if you look at [the land protected by Cool Earth projects] there's 15,000 times more land protected because it's under indigenous control in the Amazon.'[28]

The Survival International report 'Progress can Kill' says land ownership has the biggest impact on health of indigenous tribes because people separated from their land are prone to imported western diseases, suffer mental illnesses and high rates of suicide.[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.coolearth.org/
  2. ^ http://www.coolearth.org/296/coolearth-31/supporters-151/individual-supporters-330.html
  3. ^ http://www.theecologist.org/PAGES/archive_detail.asp?content_id=1909
  4. ^ http://www.endsreport.com/index.cfm?action=report.article&articleID=18971
  5. ^ UngoedThomas, Jon (2006-10-08). "Log on to buy a bit of the Amazon". The Times (London). Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  6. ^ http://www.progressivegrocer.com/progressivegrocer/content_display/supermarket-industry-news/e3i888016761f9ec824e05da39d86447a77
  7. ^ http://www.fauna-flora.org/awacachi.php
  8. ^ http://newsroom.mbooth.com/Tropicana/CoolEarth-NewsRelease.html
  9. ^ http://redskysnacks.com/#/nature/cool_earth
  10. ^ http://www.occ.gov.uk/activities/eliasch/Met_Office_forests%20and%20emissions(1).pdf
  11. ^ http://www.tropicanarainforest.com/p/handler?target=general&action=displayPage&sid=3610&pageId=271
  12. ^ http://unfccc.int/essential_background/feeling_the_heat/items/2909.php
  13. ^ http://www.whrc.org/southamerica/index.htm
  14. ^ http://www.occ.gov.uk/activities/eliasch/Met_Office_forests%20and%20emissions(1).pdf
  15. ^ World Bank (2004) Sustaining Forests: A development strategy, World Bank, Washington DC
  16. ^ http://www.rainforestlive.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=214
  17. ^ Andrew Mitchell, Katherine Secoy, Niki Mardas, Mandar Trivedi and Rachel Howard, Forests Now in the Fight against Climate change, Forest Foresight Report 1.v3, Global Canopy Programme, November 2008
  18. ^ http://www.coolearth.org/323/rainforest-projects-33.html
  19. ^ http://www.fotawildlife.ie/Awacachi.html
  20. ^ http://www.fauna-flora.org/americas_awacachi_corridor.php
  21. ^ http://www.coolearth.org/296/coolearth-31/supporters-151/fauna-and-flora-international-314.html
  22. ^ http://www.coolearth.org/323/rainforest-projects-33/awacachi-159/awacachi-corridor-ecuador-project-update-october-2008-407.html
  23. ^ http://www.progressivegrocer.com/progressivegrocer/content_display/supermarket-industry-news/e3i888016761f9ec824e05da39d86447a77
  24. ^ http://rainforest-save.blogspot.com/2008/09/cool-earth-amazon-programme-on-bbc.html
  25. ^ http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Perus-Ashaninka-Tribe-Trying-To-Save-Rainforest-With-Help-Of-Cool-Earth-Charity/Article/200806415016497
  26. ^ "There You Go". 
  27. ^ http://www.coolearth.org/407/category/the-solution-185.html#active_exmenu
  28. ^ Jowit, Juliette (2009-10-14). "Amazon tribe hits back at green 'colonialism'". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  29. ^ Jowit, Juliette (2009-10-14). "Amazon tribe hits back at green 'colonialism'". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 

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