Printware's partnership with Cool Earth has, so far, ensured the preservation of 41 acres of the Ashaninka rainforest in central Peru. Each acre of rain forest can store 260 tonnes of carbon dioxide, which means that Printware's contribution has kept 10,660 tonnes of C02 where it belongs – a significant step forward in the fight against global warming. Keeping C02 locked up is just the tip of the iceberg, as the Cool Earth project helps to protect vulnerable ecosystems and safeguard the livelihoods of indigenous rain forest people.
The Peruvian rain forest has been experiencing an alarming rate of deforestation, devastating precious stores of carbon and threatening a number of already endangered species. In the 1950s, rain forest covered 30% of the Earth's land surface but, since then, we have lost an area the size of England and Wales combined each year, which means that the rain forests now cover just 6% of the Earth's surface. The impact of this loss cannot be overestimated as the Amazon rain forest alone contributes 20% of the oxygen in our atmosphere and 20% of the world's fresh water. It is estimated that 50 million indigenous people live in rain forests and deforestation removes these people from their homes and destroys their way of life – in Brazil alone, 90 rain forest tribes were wiped out by deforestation in the 20th century.
The Ashaninka tribe who live in the Peruvian forest offered their land for sponsorship through Cool Earth, which prevents the loggers from cutting down the forest and allows the Ashaninka to continue living sustainably on their own land. By donating to the Cool Earth project in the Ashaninka rain forest, Printware and its customers have helped the local people to preserve their way of life and contributed to Cool Earth's support of schools in the area. These projects allow the local people to make a living from the forest whilst protecting its unique biodiversity and leaving a lasting legacy for future generations.
Of course, the one thing that most of us think about when we think of rain forests (apart from rain and trees) is wildlife and the Ashaninka Cool Earth project is helping to protect a vast range of important species including macaws, toucans, hummingbirds, spectacled bears (just like Paddington Bear!), various monkey species, tapir, anteaters and big cats, most famously the jaguar. Many of these animals are endangered and, with an estimated 50,000 species a year (that's two every hour) becoming extinct through rain forest destruction, we're extremely proud to help ensure the survival of so many beautiful and fascinating creatures.
With up to two-thirds of the world's plant and animal species living in the rain forests and many thousands as yet undiscovered , there's no way of knowing just what treasures there are still waiting for us. For example, 2000 rain forest plants have already been discovered to have anti-cancer properties but only 1 in 10 have been tested so far. There are so many reasons to protect the world's rain forests, not least because our own survival depends on them so much. We're delighted to have made such a positive contribution to a project which genuinely makes a real difference and would like to thank all of our customers who made it possible. If you'd like to find out more about what you can do to help preserve the rain forests, please visit www.coolearth.org
by Anthony Morgan