Keeping carbon where it belongs
Cool Earth is a UK-based charity that protects endangered rainforest in order to combat global warming, protect ecosystems and provide sustainable jobs for local people.
Rainforests are one of the world's most important resources, worth much more left standing than they are cut down for timber or burnt to clear land for farming. They are home to more than half of all living plant and animal species and produce more than a fifth of both the world's oxygen and its fresh water. Furthermore, rainforests are paramount in regulating the earth's temperature and are an untapped source of natural medicines.
Every minute one hundred acres of rainforest are cleared so that the land can be used for farming, logging and grazing. That's more than 50 million acres a year, about the size of the British mainland. Every acre that is burnt results in 260 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. In the next 24 hours, deforestation will release as much climate-warming CO2 as 8 million people flying from London to New York.
In all, it is estimated that destruction of the rainforests creates 25% of the world's annual carbon dioxide emissions – more than the entire USA. According to the World Bank's Stern Report, 11 years of deforestation at the current rate will produce more CO2 than the whole history of aviation right up until 2025.
Cool Earth raises money to secure sections of the rainforest that would otherwise be sold to loggers and ranchers. Current projects are in Peru, Brazil and Ecuador, with new sites in development.
The land is placed in a local trust with local communities employed around the clock to protect it. More than 50% of donations are spent ensuring communities benefit from keeping the forest standing. This includes investment in the production and processing of sustainable forest crops such as rubber, Brazil nuts, cocoa and coffee. Money is also spent on building or improving schools and medical facilities.
An acre of rainforest can cost as little as £70. At the time of writing, Cool Earth had secured more than 500,000 acres of rainforest and protected more than 120,000,000 trees, helping to keep carbon where it belongs.
The Wexas Travel Foundation raised £11,000 on behalf of Cool Earth, a figure that protected a further 150 acres of rainforest and stopped 39,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. To help put this in perspective, the average Briton has an annual carbon footprint of around 13 tonnes.
Find out more
Learn more about Cool Earth by visiting its website.