The Story Day after day there are news of increased destruction rate of the Amazon Rainforest. Nothing seems able to stop illegal loggers, large mining corporations and a Brazil government that simply does not care. Protecting and restoring the Amazon is urgent: it is one of the largest and most diverse ecosystems of the world, one of the largest CO2 sink that slow climate change, and the home of large communities of indigenous people.
Why is this urgent? Once the forest destruction gets past a tipping point, it will not be able to recover. The current pandemic crisis is accelerating deforestation toward these critical tipping points, because of two main reasons:
1) A reduction in the presence of oversight agencies that typically operate in the Amazon because of recent social distancing measures;
2) A lack of funding from the current Brazilian government.
As private citizens, we can’t fix number one, but we can help fixing problem two. It is now, during this pandemic, more than ever, that this help is needed.
Identification of a reliable charity
To ensure our money is used efficiently, I used the well-known review sites charitynavigator.org, greatnonprofits.org and give.org to identify the most trustworthy, transparent, established and effective charity.
I identified the Rainforest Trust as fulfilling all these preconditions.
What does the Rainforest Trust do?
- Established in 1988, Rainforest Trust works around the tropics to strategically purchase and protect lands vital for endangered species and indigenous communities.
- They specifically target the most threatened tropical habitats that are critical for preventing species extinctions and that are exceptionally rich in biological diversity.
- In 30 years’ time, they have saved more than 2 million acres of tropical habitat across 53 countries in 150 protected areas and wildlife reserves.
- They also published a book summarising 30 years of positive impact to protect the rainforest in 2018.
Why they need funding? Their budget is less than 50M$ and it all comes from donations. See here. Compared to the trillions of dollars being unlocked by governments to bail out companies during this pandemic (including fossil fuel companies and airlines), this is minuscule. To make a difference, their budget must increase to purchase and protect key parts of the rainforest.
So, why should I help this cause? This is something I am regularly asked. In a nutshell: because it is an act of humanity. Humanity, according to the dictionary, is defined as being “compassionate, sympathetic, or generous behaviour or disposition : the quality or state of being humane”. Protecting the rainforest means protecting the future of our children and the children of our children from climate change. It also means protecting the home of countless indigenous people. It also means protecting countless species from extinction. Isn’t this an act of humanity? :-)
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