Cool the Earth through Trees
December 8, 2008
Slowing down not only refers to our pace of life, but also to the way in which we treat the Earth. Cool Earth is a charity that gives individuals and families a tangible way to join the fight against climate change by allowing them to personally protect endangered acres of rainforest. These acres are in turn vested back to local communities who take responsibility for their long term sustainability. Cool Earth and its global donors (including Tony Blair, Ricky Gervais and Minnie Driver) already protect over 400,000 acres of endangered rainforest, locking up more than 100 million tons of carbon.
A gift of $50 will protect half an acre of rainforest. This will lock in 130 tons of carbon dioxide – effectively offsetting a household’s annual emissions by a factor of five. Donors will receive a rainforest certificate in his or her name as well as updates and news from Cool Earth’s local monitoring team. Most importantly, people can view and monitor their particular half an acre online at www.coolearth.org.
Why is this important? It is estimated that every year, 50 million acres – an area the size of Britain – are cut down, emitting 2 billion tons of CO2. On top of this, the same amount of area is being damaged. In 1950 rain forests covered about 30% of the earths land surface, this is now reduced to 6% and it is still being destroyed. Tropical rainforests are the richest stores of carbon we have and protecting them must be a #1 priority in tackling climate change. The remaining standing forest contains 1,000 billion tons of carbon, or double what is already in the atmosphere. Rainforests are the world’s thermostat. They play a central role in global weather systems, helping keep hurricanes at bay and providing more than a fifth of the world’s fresh water and oxygen. They are home to two thirds of all living species on the planet, and it is estimated that up to 50,000 species a year may become extinct through the destruction of the rainforest.