Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Will we save the planet?

The Independent (UK) has published an article entitled "Start The Fightback To Save Our Planet: Protecting The Rainforests Offers The World One Last Crucial Breathing Space". Here's part of what it says:

Churchill’s strategy to win the Second World War was to prioritise those actions that had to be taken that day. Today we fight an equally important war - the war against global warming. Cool Earth, the charity that today opens its doors for business, offers individuals a chance to begin the fight-back for our planet.

The idea is disarmingly simple. Cool Earth, working with bodies like Fauna and Flora, who are already active on the ground, aims to allow individuals the chance to help build up a protective arm around the world’s rainforests. But why rainforests? Rainforests are the great carbon stores of the world. Last year forests the size of Britain were cut down and the CO2 released from burning these trees equalled the total CO2 emissions of the US. Some of this logging was legal. But much of it was illegally undertaken by people who have no other way of earning a living. So how can the rainforest be protected in a way that also provides local employment?

The idea is that stakeholders in this country will become stewards of the part of the forest which their contribution has secured. The ownership of the forest will be held in trust with local people who also farm the forest for its natural produce. Rubber tappers will also have similar access.

Cool Earth’s efforts will not end here. The aim is to use some of the stakeholders’ money to allow local governments and NGOs to build up schools and health services.

Supporting Cool Earth will therefore be a new way of directing overseas aid. Individual stakeholders will decide how much to contribute and all of that stakeholding will be directed immediately to where it matters; saving the forest, increasing job opportunities, and raising health and education standards.

Stakeholders’ support is not limited to trees. Rainforests are full of life. For each acre a stakeholder will also know that they are protecting a magnificent variety of mammals and insects as well as a rich biodiversity springing from the forests’ flora and fauna. Orangutans, sloths and tree frogs are just a few of the species threatened with extinction as rainforests are plundered.

Here's something that's said toward the end:

It is quite clear that, late in the day, governments are becoming aware how short the time is to save our planet. A further aim of Cool Earth is to build up a membership which helps the debate leapfrog the current agenda being drawn up so painfully by governments.

It gladdens my heart that there are people who are at least trying. May this effort have much success!

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