Drawing hope from South Sudan

May 5, 2014 § 1 Comment

Today I woke up with my fresh cup of coffee and started to skim through the morning’s news reports on the BBC. Something I have promised myself to do less of recently, as although I feel it is important for me to keep up with current affairs and stay connected to the world, I have noticed that when I end up consuming bad news stories first thing in the morning (which often seems to be the case), my day will start off on the wrong foot. That is to say, I am simply much happier when I delay my daily disappointment (I mean appointment) with the news at least until lunchtime. Today is not one of those happy days. I open BBC news and smack – ‘John Kerry warns of South Sudan genocide’. My experience tells me I should look away and ignore yet another undoubtedly saddening and tragic report about South Sudan. I mean, nobody wants threats of genocide with their bowl of breakfast cereal right?! But of course I do read it, ever since becoming acquainted with James Ochieng, I always make a point of reading every single article that I come across on South Sudan. I feel that paying attention is the very least I should do. But really I know I could do more.

BBC report South Sudan
BBC report warning of genocide in South Sudan

It began with a tweet two years ago, when James Ochieng, a volunteer teacher at Kan Ajak Primary School in a remote village in South Sudan decided to contact me via Twitter. His school in the North Bahr al-Ghazal State is not far from the border that since independence in 2011, has separated Sudan from what is now recognised as the world’s newest nation, South Sudan. From this remote location, James Ochieng expressed a desire for the children at his school to become a part of my rainforest conservation project, Bloomtrigger. A project, which through the use of modern day technology, connects primary school children around the world with Amazon forest communities. The Bloomtrigger project is a free online platform providing schools with interactive environmental workshops that teach the importance of tackling global deforestation and climate change, empowering the children to help protect their own part of the rainforest in a meaningful and creative way.

The first step of the project requires a little bit of artistic expression, which any child is more than qualified to do. The children simply have to draw a self portrait, which is then uploaded to Bloomtrigger’s website. This, however, is when we identified our first major challenge! Apparently the internet has not yet reached Kan Ajak Primary School, neither have computers, nor electricity for that matter. If this does not surprise you, then perhaps like me, your impression of South Sudan is of a country ravaged by decades of civil war and crippled by severe poverty. Where the children wear tattered clothes and are lucky if they have shoes, let alone computers and broadband internet. Unfortunately, in the case of Kan Ajak village, we would be right. James Ochieng informed me that most of the approximate 500 children who attend the school are Returnees or former (IDP’s) internally displaced persons. They are indeed barefoot or perhaps fortunate enough to own a pair of plastic sandals. He explains “Some children stay at home, too ashamed to go to school without appropriate clothing”, though he added, “the more courageous come in whatever they have”. The lack of resources in one of the world’s poorest countries is even less surprising when you consider that more than a million people have fled their homes since the conflict ignited again last December, resulting in increasing economic hardship for the South Sudanese people.

James Ochieng at Freedom corner, Uhuru park, Nairobi
James Ochieng Bloomtrigger ambassador and coordinator in South Sudan

Bloomtrigger map of South SudanBloomtrigger map showing the location of Kan Ajak Primary School

Helping this school to become a part of the Bloomtrigger project was clearly going to be an ambitious challenge, if not slightly ridiculous considering the facts. Bloomtrigger is still a relatively small startup organisation by most standards, but proud to have united a diverse network of schools, individuals and businesses to help pioneer our model of environmental education and conservation. The project has reached schools across the UK as well as in other developed countries like Japan and (some developing nations) such as Nepal and Brazil. Now to branch out into South Sudan may seem like an unnecessary distraction from the focus of our work, but the passion and persistence of James Ochieng for progressing his school was contagious from the beginning. I carefully examined his emails and while reading in between the lines of his not quite perfect English, I could see that here I was dealing with a true gentleman. James is a man who clearly has an impressive understanding of the world and a quiet determination for where his school, community and country should be heading. As months passed he continued to send me the occasional updates from the village via a mobile modem attached to his laptop. This poor connection often proved too unreliable, even to send a simple email, and I would often be left waiting months for a response, until James could make one of his long and difficult journeys by road to Nairobi in Kenya, where he is able to find a decent enough internet connection to send images and video updates from the school. I asked him how the conflict is affecting the children at his school and fortunately, the fighting is not happening in their State this time. However, he informs me that “the army is currently the biggest employer in South Sudan and that there are men and women with the duty of defending the nation and some of these men and women from the region have lost their lives. When the fighting broke out most of the roads were closed and the cost of living was, and still is, unbearable for many. Despite these conditions the children keep the school a vibrant place, which is rapidly growing in numbers and becoming a centre for education amongst all the local population”.

Teacher Thiel helping the children to draw their profile imagesTeacher Mr Theil Aciech helping the children with their profile drawings

Today I live in Brazil, São Paulo, a city which is literally surrounded by favelas (slums), yet it is still possible to ignore this extreme poverty, and like many of the middle class Brazilians in my neighbourhood, I find it easy to shut out the inequality that exists on our door step. When I think about the troubles in South Sudan, it is again all too easy to feel detached or powerless to do anything about a complex problem that is somebody else’s, the people who live in Africa perhaps or just the people in South Sudan, it is just their problem. As if we are not one and the same people. Human beings living on our one small planet, with a finite amount of resources, struggling to find a sustainable balance, a way to share our resources fairly, without great disparity between the rich and poor, without conflict and without threats of genocide.

I have just checked on the UK government travel website and the official word from the (FCO) Foreign and Common Wealth Office is “DO NOT TRAVEL TO SOUTH SUDAN” and they add, “the situation is tense”. I don’t mind admitting that I would not want to get physically too close to South Sudan right now. These reports of insecurity do not exactly help my feeling of distance and detachment from this far away place, but at the same time, reading these reports, has left me feeling deeply humbled. To think that a school with so little, which is confronted by the constant fears of war, lack of water, food, basically survival, is also concerned about teaching their children about a global perspective, such as the issue of deforestation and climate change. They are even willing to make a huge effort in order to play their role in protecting rainforests on the other side of the world in Peru! James Ochieng, puts it very simply, “these conflicts happening now will not dampen our spirits, we shall keep on working hard to ensure that children are prepared now for a future without conflict.” You cannot argue with his thinking. And as it turns out deforestation is not only a problem happening far away in the Amazon or even in the neighbouring states of the African Congo basin. It is increasingly becoming a very local problem that can have severe consequences for the children’s education. Like most schools in South Sudan, Kan Ajak Primary School is under the UN World Food Program (WFP). The children’s meals are cooked in the school and firewood is the only fuel used to cook this food. What happens is that the children are instructed to bring a piece of firewood on their way to school, at least twice a week, failure to do that will result in punishment. So you can imagine what happens on the routes to school. Children break branches along the way, resulting in the destruction of all the trees within their reach. The school has now taken steps to find a solution to this problem by introducing biofuel briquettes as an alternative fuel source, but James Ochieng believes that the children need to gain a wider understanding of this issue, as he puts it “only through having both a local and international perspective will South Sudan emerge from conflict and become a household name in the future”.

So this is how without any computers or internet the South Sudan Bloomtrigger Club was born and 52 pupils from Kan Ajak took the first steps to join the project by drawing their profile images for the website. Despite several set backs and delays along the way, such as when James’s laptop broke falling off the back of his bike with all the photographs of the children’s profile drawings stuck on the hard drive or when it became too dangerous to travel, finally a few weeks ago, he made it to Nairobi to upload the drawings to Bloomtrigger’s website.

The South Sudan Bloomtrigger Club at Kan Ajak Primary SchoolChildren from the South Sudan Bloomtrigger Club at Kan Ajak Primary School

Ultimately the goal is to bring solar power, computers and a reliable internet connection to the school, so that the children will have the opportunity to fully realise the online experience of the Bloomtrigger project, and perhaps even exchange videos with other schools and forestry communities participating around the world. More importantly, imagine how a simple internet connection could transform the lives and education of all the pupils and communities around Kan Ajak Primary School. We hope to make this happen one day in the near future, but until then we will continue to make small steps towards this goal and look for ways to bring more immediate essentials to the school, like helping to provide better access to clean drinking water, books, pencils, school uniforms. Just helping with basic things, like chairs would be a good start! And as the world continues to present us all with more difficult and complex problems; global deforestation, climate change, poverty and conflict in South Sudan to name a few, we know how easy it is to turn a blind eye to these problems, at least at the moment, but it may not always be this way. There is a chance that our finite resources will one day run out, that continued deforestation will lead to more extreme weather conditions, bringing droughts and food shortages, and impoverished people with nothing to lose will be forced to migrate on a massive scale in order to survive. I believe the risk of these scenarios happening to us are worth taking a little time to consider. Paying attention is worthwhile (though perhaps after you have had your coffee and woken up in the morning), because amid all the complexity there are incredible, inspiring people creating local solutions that can help make a better future for us all. People like James Ochieng and the children at Kan Ajak Primary School, who are drawing faces of hope that capture our attention and remind us which way we should be heading.

by James Sutton, Bloomtrigger Founder


The South Sudan Bloomtrigger Club profile drawings

 Kan Ajak Primary School planted on the map
The South Sudan Bloomtrigger Club planted on the Bloomtrigger map

Video of the children dancing at Kan Ajak Primary School

*If you would like to support the children of Kan Ajak Primary School then please get in touch to find out all the possible ways you can make help make a difference: enquiries@bloomtrigger.com

To find out more about how the Bloomtrigger project works watch a short video here  or visit www.bloomtrigger.com

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Put a value on nature!

July 30, 2012 § 1 Comment

TED LOGO

“You can’t really have a proper model for development if at the same time you’re destroying or allowing the degradation of the very asset, the most important asset, which is your development asset, that is ecological infrastructure” – Pavan Sukhdev.

We have decided to start this post about the TED video ‘Put a value on Nature’ with a quote from the speaker himself, because it effectively sums up what it is all about.

Pavan Sukhdev: Put a value on nature!

In this TED video, Pavan Sukhdev talks about the hidden value received by human beings from nature; a value that does not get priced by the markets and what he calls ‘the economic invisibility of nature’.

In 2007, using the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change as a model, a group of environment ministers of the G8+5 launched a project called The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) where the main aim was, as the name already indicates, to price Ecosystems and Biodiversity.

This talk mentions this project and highlights the importance of the ecosystems in the global economy. Here are just a few examples:

* At ecosystem level, the Amazon rainforest, besides being a massive storage of carbon and biodiversity, is also a rain factory. This rainfall factory feeds an agricultural economy in the order of 240 billion dollars-worth in Latin America. However, none of the countries pay a single penny for this vital input to their economies.

* At species level, it is been estimated that insect-based pollination, bees pollinating fruit and so on, is worth around 190 billion dollars. That is something like eight percent of the total agricultural output globally. In the county of Sichuan (China), for example, pollinators have been lost though the indiscriminate use of pesticides and the over-harvesting of its honey and honeybee have had to be replaced by workers.

China workers Owing to the lack of bees; Chinese farmer have started to pollinate their orchards by hand. Photograph: Li junsheng / Imaginechina (Guardian, 2010)

* At genetic level, 60 percent of medicines prospected, were found first as molecules in a rainforest or a reef.

As these examples indicate, ecosystems play a major role in global economy and we should reflect about this because we have much at stake. In this period of the financial crisis, we think this is a great time to integrate natural asset into the global economic system. Otherwise, the capitalist system as it is today, will not last long if all the natural capital which supports it, is being destroyed by the capitalist system itself.

Gold rush in Peru

July 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

Gold is a source of much wealth and conflicts in Peru. Gold price hikes in the last decade has fueled the gold rush, where illegal mining is the norm in regions such as Madre de Dios. The biggest current mining project, called Conga, set out by the North American company Newmont Mining Co has unleashed a war in the region of Cajamarca because of the fierce opposition of environmental groups and indigenous peoples.

Thousand of locals for the district of Bambamarca marching in protest against the Conga mining project, in PeruThousand of locals for the district of Bambamarca marching in protest against the Conga mining project, in Peru. Source: http://www.elpais.com

The illegal or informal mining has devastated tens of thousands of hectares and has change the landscape of Madre de Dios. This is the fourth largest region in Peru, with the lowest population density – only 1,3 habitants/km2 – and 54% of its territory is protected area. It has 5 indigenous groups and 32 local communities living there, with a number of them being uncontacted.

Around 40,000 people originally from the Andean Peruvian regions and countries like Brazil, Bolivia, Russia, China and Korea, are directly employed in mining activities in Madre de Dios. The number reaches half a million throughout the whole country.

The working conditions of the miners are very harsh: they work in shifts of 24 hours and rest only 12, in difficult conditions without a contract or any social security, in areas without access to clean water, leaving them weakened by respiratory problems, diarrhoeal and skin diseases. And all this for a stunning salary (by ‘Peruvian standards’). Within a week a miner earns around 7,000 Peruvian Nuevos Soles (£1,700) while the average wage in Peru is 2,000 Peruvian Nuevos Soles per month (£490).

“The illegal or informal mining does nothing for the people and just costs our government money”, says a local doctor. According to the National Institute for Research in the Peruvian Amazon and the Ministry of the Environment, if miners in Madre de Dios paid taxes, the region would receive around 50 million Peruvian Nuevos Soles (£12,2 M) to invest in public services.

In view of the increasing number of conflicts and the state of illegal mining in Madre de Dios, the Government has decided to put things in order and regularise the situation of illegal miners by issuing a decree that banishes mining activities in the floodplains of rivers.

However at Bloomtrigger we believe these measures are not enough to ensure the protection of the ecosystems and traditional activities of local communities and indigenous. This is why we want to share with you today this avaaz petition to stop the Conga mining project in the region of Cajamarca and also ask you, if you have not done already, to sign up with the bloomtrigger project, buy some blooms and help to protect rainforest in Manu – one of the four provinces in the Madre de Dios Region in Peru.

Source: www.elpais.com

Wirral Eco-Award Convention!

July 19, 2012 § 1 Comment

Earlier this month on the 4th July, eight Year 6 Townfield Primary School children accompanied by their teachers – Mrs Haggett and Mrs Gee – attended the Wirral Eco-Award Convention at the Woodchurch High School where a number of primary and secondary schools competed for 10 different awards.

To start the day, each school gave a presentation that celebrated their eco work. The Townfield Primary School children stood up in front of hundreds of people and with great confidence explained the bloomtrigger project under the proud glance of their teachers.

After a short break, all of the schools returned to perform their eco songs. The Townfield’s song was set to ‘Where is the Love’ by the Black Eyed Peas. The children helped to change the lyrics into a moving song about working together to save the planet. They then took part in some drama activities before sitting down to a canteen lunch.

To end the day, the winners for each of the 10 awards were announced. There were not enough awards for every school at the convention, so they nervously hoped their school name would be called! Eventually, the 9th award for ‘Global impact’ was awarded to Townfield Primary School! The judges were very impressed with the bloomtrigger project and loved that their children could help to save the rainforest through their good behaviour and attitude at school.

Townfield Primary SchoolTeachers and children from Townfield Primary School receiving a plaque and a fully grown apple tree to plant back at school.

At Bloomtrigger we want to say BIG thanks to Townfield Primary School – students, teachers and rest of the team included – for bringing our project to the Wirral Eco-Award Convention and spreading the word amongst other schools. This award means a lot for us because it recognises that Bloomtrigger is empowering children to make an effective impact on the global environment. So we are proud to be a part of this award as well!

Townfield Bloomtrigger ProfileIf you want to learn more about how Townfield Primary School is helping us to protect rainforest, click here to visit their Bloomtrigger’s profile.

How is Earth’s health?

June 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Earth seen from the space
Earth seen from the space. (Source: ascentum.com)

Due to the Rio+20 Earth Summit held last week in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) published a report called GEO5 – Global Environmental Outlook – Environment for the future we want that revises the health status of the main environmental trends such as atmosphere, climate change, forests, fresh water, oceans or biodiversity to give some examples.

We believe this document should be spread everywhere because we all have the right to know how the health status of the planet is where we are living. Making an easy comparison, this would be like reading your clinical test results after a medical check. You want to know whether you are healthy or not, right? Then, why not learn about the Earth’s health? After all, your health status and Earth’s maybe are more interconnected than you think.

At Bloomtrigger we want to help spread this inform by making a brief summary of the environmental trends commented on above:

Earth's Atmosphere
Earth’s Atmosphere. (Source: http://www.universetoday.com)

Atmosphere: The GEO-5 points out that the Montreal Protocol has managed to drastically reduce the amount of harmful substances in the ozone layer. This protocol, signed in Canada in 1987, is an excellent example of an international cooperation to solve a global environmental issue.

Global Warming from 1960 to 2009
Global warming from 1960 to 2009. (Source: http://www.elpais.com)

Climate Change: The objective of limiting global warming to 2ºC, agreed at the Copenhagen Summit in 2009, moves ever further away. Due to the burning of fossil fuels which started during the industrial revolution and deforestation, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is the highest in the last 850,000 years, at nearly 400 ppm. The UNEP considers there is a need to end subsides that are harmful to the environment, particularly the fossil fuel subsides; The need to create carbon taxes and incentives for forest carbon capture. According to the International Energy Agency the fossil fuel subsidies are five times higher than the renewable energy subsidies.

Deforestation in Brazil
Deforestation in Brazil. (Source: bloomtrigger.com)

Deforestation: The GEO-5 indicates that the pace of losing rainforest still remains alarmingly high and highlights that deforestation and forest degradation may impose larger economic costs for the global economy than losses resulting from the 2008 financial crisis. This is because the economic growth has taken place at the cost of natural resources and degradation of ecosystems.

Drinking Water Treatment Station
Drinking Water Treatment Station. (Source: civilengineereweb.com)

Fresh water: There is good news in regards to the access to clean drinking water. In 1990, the United Nations set up the challenge of reducing the number of people with no access to clean drinking water by half before 2015. The target is about to be achieved. However, the UNEP points out that the targets set out for wastewater treatment is not going to be achieved as there are still 2.6 billion people with no access to wastewater treatment.

A turlte swimming in the ocean
A turtle swimming in the ocean. (Source: cowanglobal.com)

Oceans: The ocean degradation continues. The eutrophic costal zones – with proliferation of micro-organisms due to the contamination – have increased significantly since 1990; at least 415 costal zones have showed signs of serious eutrophication and among them only 13 are being recovered. In addition to the problem of the eutrophication, the excess of CO2 absorption from the atmosphere is causing the acidification of the oceans, which is a huge threat for the coral reefs and shellfish.

Biodiversity
Source: earthfirstnews.com

Biodiversity: Today the world is living through the “the sixth great extinction of species” as biodiversity is being lost at an unknown pace, the worst since the dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago. The UNEP warns that two thirds of the species of some taxons are threatened with extinction. The populations of species generally have been declining significantly and since the 1970s the populations of vertebrates have declined by over 30%.

At Bloomtrigger we believe that while the situation is serious, there is no point in lamenting; it is time for action. Why don’t you start by signing up with the bloomtrigger project? Bloomtrigger aims to be one small, yet essential part of the solution.

10 bloom note

Source:

  • El País
  • GEO5 – Global Environmental Outlook – Environment for the future we want


Rio+20 : Where we stand on forests!

June 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Rio+20 tag
Rio+20 wrist tag

Arriving in Rio de Janeiro for the Rio+20, the biggest meeting to take place in 20 years to discuss the environmental, social and economic future of our planet, it is difficult to mistake that you have landed in the right place. Apart from the name of the city being the most obvious giveaway, the place is teeming with foreign delegates, world leaders and countless representatives from NGOs, corporations and concerned citizens from 176 different nations. Looking along the white sand beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema at any time day or night, business as usual is all around, scores of locals playing endless games of football, tourists taking in the sun and caipirinhas, but also the presence of Rio+20 is unmistakably everywhere you look. Extra soldiers line the streets with intimidatingly large guns to ensure the security for this summit. A huge metal scaffolding structure has been constructed over looking the sea displaying giant LED boards that flash Rio+20 messages as a constant reminder of what is happening and every 500 meters another enterprising local has sculpted a mini Rio+20 utopia out of the sand, complete with a tiny version of Christ the Redeemer (Rio’s iconic statue of Christ) to cash in on visitors taking photographs of their creative work.

Rio+20 sand sculpture
One of many Rio+20 sand sculpture along Copacabana beach

This United Nations conference wraps up today with the hope of providing new agreements on all aspects of sustainable development, from issues such as food and energy security, the human rights of local and indigenous peoples, resource depletion to oceans and water conservation. While representing Bloomtrigger our main focus was to find out where the world stands today on forests and to see what the picture is looking like for this vital global resource in the coming years and decades. As places go for discussing the issue of global deforestation there are few city more impacting than Rio, the beauty of this vibrant city is in every nook and side street, with nowhere more striking than with the contrast found when the towering forest covered mountains are confronted by the gradual invasion of the sprawling favelas (Brazilian slums). This mixture of uncontrolled population growth, ever increasing competition for land and the disparity between the rich and the poor can be seen to define both the great challenges facing the people of this city and equally the difficulties faced by the global community in managing our forests in the wider world.

Favela da Rocinha do Rio
Favela da Rocinha – a notorious slum in Rio

In many respects there is much to be positive about. Looking at the host country as an example, many Brazilians are keen to point out the successes of the past 20 years. In this BRIC country that has seen continued economic growth, with cities like Manaus boasting growth on level with China at around 9%, while also reporting a significant decrease in deforestation over the last 5 years. These reduced rates of deforestation are mainly due to the work of Marina Silva, the former Minister of Environment for Brazil; though it is not looking hopeful for these trends to continue with the new laws being pushed by the current government of Dilma Rousseff. There is a grave concern amongst Brazilians and the international community over the new changes to the Forest Code in Brazil, which will encourage deforestation, resulting in a huge step backwards. Speaking to Brazilians there is a great frustration that this is happening against the wishes of the people and just goes to show the power and influence of a handful of special interest groups, namely big agro-business and the latifundiários (Brazilian land barons who still own vast tracts of land throughout Brazil).

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon 1988-2011
Source: Mongabay, 2012

Renewed attention is being given to forestry carbon, with REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) being the top of the forestry agenda. This financial mechanism designed to provide a way to pay for the environmental services that forests provide is considered the best opportunity we have to protect forests around the world. After 7 years of stalling due to the political and practical challenges posed by REDD+, progresses are now being made on the ground. Pilot projects are proving that issues such as additionality, baselines and benefit sharing can be overcome. In recent years some projects have been certified by the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) and The Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standard (CCB) – (if you are not an expert on the forestry carbon jargon, basically forestry carbon projects need to be accredited by international standards like these for investors to have confidence that the carbon credits from these projects are of a high quality). Examples of these can be seen in the Amazon with the pioneering Juma project implemented by Fundação Amazonas Sustentável (FAS) and the Suruí project from Metareilá Association, which is also responsible for the first project to issue REDD+ credits under the VCS on the African continent in the Kenya’s Kasigau Corridor developed by Wildlife Works. The support for REDD+ was visible everywhere, quite literally in the case of a new campaign launched during Rio+20 called Code REDD by a group of leading institutions and corporations. Their objective is to create a momentum in the private sector to get behind REDD+ and start buying forestry carbon credits. They even took their message to the streets of Rio with a launch event in party district of Lapa, attracting large crowds with their video projections and DJs playing late into the night.

However despite all the progress being made by a relatively small number of individuals and organisations, it is sobering to hear the reports by scientists at the CIFOR 8th Roundtable event on forests. They remind us that approximately 12 million hectares of forest are being lost globally every year according to figures by the FAO. They are raising the alarm about the looming tipping points of the forests, the point of no return, when to much forest has been destroyed, triggering the collapse of the entire ecosystem. The main tipping points to watch are atmospheric temperature rises, where a global increase of 3.5% would have devastating consequence on the forest ecosystems and the other tipping point highlighted is when we loose more than 40% of the total forest area. We know that at present over 20% of the Amazon is gone, so further deforestation is a huge gamble with potentially fatal consequences.

The scientists are also indicating that the relationship between forests and water will play an increasingly important role for protecting forests in the coming years and that we should not only think about the relationship between forests and carbon. The global water cycle mapped by satellite imagery, clearly shows how water transpiration being generated by tropical forests is having a direct effect on rainfall and therefore agriculture in neighboring continents. Habitat lost in the Amazon directly effects the livelihoods of farmers and the food security around the world, not only the local inhabitants. Issues surrounding food security are typically subjects that people from all walks of life quickly get hot under the collar about and with water resources becoming ever scarcer, this will likely lead to increasing interest in forest protection on the individual and national level.

Satelite imagery showing global rainfall in relation to tropical forests.  Source : The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

It is clear that the story of our forests is at the forefront in determining the economic, social and environmental prosperity of our future and everything is still to be won or lost in the coming decades. The urgency for funding for pioneering projects to conserve forests is great and the time to engage people to take action towards zero deforestation is now. So it goes without saying that we will continue to develop the bloomtrigger project to enable a simple, affordable and creative way for people to protect forests. In 2012 we are standing at a cross road and in the next 10 years we will undoubtedly witness great changes happen. Lets try to make the story for Rio+30 the world we want!

By James Sutton & Rosana Della Méa

To become a part of the bloomtrigger project and protect you own part of the Amazon rainforest in a creative way click here!

RIO+20. What future do you want?

June 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Promotional video from Rio+20

Rio+20 is the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development that takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the next three days starting today (20th June) *. This very important event for the future of the Earth and the humankind is being held exactly 20 years after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, where countries adopted Agenda 21 – a Programme of Action for Sustainable Development that contains the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, which recognizes each nation’s right to purse social and economic progress and assigned to States the responsibility of adopting a model of sustainable development. This summit was very influential for different reasons and important documents such as the Statement of Forest Principles were approved there. Unfortunately two decades of warm words and speeches in favour of the environment have not prevented that the main measure parameters of sustainability have deteriorated. This is noted by the GEO-5 inform, elaborated by the United Nations Environment Programme, which says in regards the forests, for example, that the pace of losing rainforest still remains alarmingly high and highlights that deforestation and forest degradation may impose larger economic cost for the global economy than losses resulting from the 2008 financial crisis.

However, at Bloomtrigger we want to take a positive and constructive attitude towards the rainforest conservation. While it is true the pace of losing rainforest still remains high it is also true that since the agreement on the Forest Principles – as we explain before, at the first Rio Summit in 1992 – there has been a growing awareness and understating by policy makers of forests’ potential for sustainable development objectives. Greater attention has been given to multifunctional benefits of forest and to the critical role of forest in enhancing people’s livelihoods and the sound functioning of ecosystems.

Rio+20People walking through the Rio+20 pavilions, 20th June 2012. 

This Rio+20 Conference, therefore, takes place to give a new impetus to the sustainable development objectives adopted in the 1992 Earth Summit where forestry conservation plays a major role. Bloomtrigger, as an organisation which aims to protect 1 million hectares of the most biodiverse rainforest on the planet, can’t miss the opportunity of attend the Rio+20.

Stay tuned to the blog because in the next few days there will be a new post about Bloomtrigger’s participation in one of the most challenging summits for the future of our planet in the last years.

To learn more about Rio+20 visit the official website www.uncsd2012.org

Rio+20

*20-22 June are the official dates of the Conference. However, loads of talks, meetings and activities organized by NGOs, enterprises and environmentalist organizations and individuals have been held in Rio since the end of May.

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