Cool Earth was founded in 2007 by businessman Johan Eliasch and social-reforming Labour MP, Frank Field. Putting aside their political differences, the two men came together to address a problem that affects everyone on the planet – climate change. They realised that something needed to be done before it was too late and that the most effective way of tackling climate change was to give everyone the opportunity to protect their own bit of rain forest, preventing millions of tonnes of CO2 from being released. Economist and botanist Matthew Owen joined the team and Cool Earth was born on May 31st, 2007.
Since then, Cool Earth has grown beyond even its founders' wildest dreams and continues to rack up success after success. By focusing on areas of rain forest that are most at risk and under the most immediate threat of destruction, Cool Earth can maximise the effect of its work. There are many other rain forest reserves in South America but these are often in the centre of the forest and unlikely to be targeted by loggers or ranchers, so protecting them has limited impact. The benefits of the Cool Earth approach are two-fold – firstly, by protecting vulnerable areas of forest, Cool Earth is safeguarding carbon stores that would otherwise be released back into the atmosphere and, secondly, these areas tend to be on the edge of the forest, so form a natural barrier which protects the forest behind it. Thanks to this innovative approach to climate change and rain forest management, Cool Earth has managed to purchase 215,000 acres of forest which act as a shield for a total of 2.5 million acres.
It's not just about saving trees, though; there are thought to be 1.6 billion people whose livelihoods depend on the forests and up to 350 million people living within the rain forests themselves. The success of any forest conservation project depends on the support of the rain forest people and Cool Earth works with the communities to help them live sustainably within the forest. This removes the financial incentive for the rain forest communities to sell to the loggers and ranchers, helps to preserve their way of life and safeguards their legacy for future generations.
Cool Earth has captured the imagination of thousands of ordinary people, businesses and celebrities, including Sir David Attenborough who describes supporting Cool Earth as, 'Perhaps the biggest difference we will make in our whole lives'. Despite the huge successes so far, Cool Earth isn't resting on its laurels and plans to expand its projects in South America, protecting even more trees, safeguarding even more endangered species, locking up even more CO2 and helping even more people. As if that wasn't enough, Cool Earth is also committed to protecting 350,000 trees, 110 plant species and 22 animal species in Papua New Guinea.
Printware is delighted to wish Cool Earth a very happy fifth birthday and is proud that our continuing partnership is reaping such huge and tangible rewards. If you'd like to know more, or get involved, please visit http://www.coolearth.org/
by Anthony Morgan