November 25th, 2009

Halting three million tonnes of CO² in just three weeks.
Countdown to Copenhagen: environmental charity launches one of world’s largest rainforest protection campaigns

Europe’s fastest growing environmental charity, Cool Earth, is launching one of the world’s largest rainforest protection campaigns this week, urging British people to take a stand against climate change and halt a staggering three million tonnes of CO² emissions in just three weeks.

Cool Earth’s "Tree for a £" campaign calls on individuals, groups, associations and businesses to take direct action and save an endangered rainforest tree in the countdown to the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference being held in Copenhagen next month (7–18 December 2009).

Protecting just one rainforest tree with Cool Earth can halt up to a staggering 30 tonnes of CO² emissions, which means individuals, really can make a real difference.

In order to launch the initiative, Cool Earth has worked with over 100 forest engineers over the last year to accurately map the 12 most valuable hardwood species of trees in one of the richest bio-diversity hotspots in the Rio Ené valley in the Amazon rainforest. These trees are at imminent risk of destruction right now - with some less than three kilometres away from destruction by logging gangs and bulldozers. Sponsorship money raised will not only protect a tree but will also provide 24/7 forest patrols by specially trained Cool Earth rangers and fund full legal support to halt the destruction.

As part of its campaign, Cool Earth needs 100,000 people to protect a rainforest tree in the Peruvian Amazon in the next three weeks to halt three million tonnes of CO² emissions (this is the equivalent emissions created as a result of 2,542,373 return flights between London and New York).

Matthew Owen, Cool Earth Director, says: “Not everyone can get out to Copenhagen and make their views heard and we know people want to take action. If we, as individuals, can halt three million tonnes of CO² in just three weeks, we can show world leaders at Copenhagen what a huge difference can be made by investing in avoided deforestation projects.

“Deforestation is one of the largest contributors to climate change. When forests are being destroyed, the carbon emissions from illegal logging and burning equate to the total carbon emissions from the US and China — all seven billion tons of it. When they are being protected, rainforests produce 20 per cent of the entire world’s oxygen and 30 per cent of our planet’s fresh water. Therefore, it is essential that reducing CO² emissions from deforestation and degradation plays a central part of any international deal of climate change.”

Climate Change campaigner set to announces results of Cool Earth’s "Tree for a £" campaign at UN Conference:
Peruvian tribesman Javier Dril Bustamante, 27, is married to Yolanda, and together they have three young children. Javier has spent his whole life in the Amazonian rainforest, it has been his family’s home for generations and it is now under real threat.

This year, Javier has come face-to-face with illegal loggers who threaten to destroy his home and the ancient forest he and his community rely on for survival. As head of the Ashaninka Bioclimatic Association and part of the official Peruvian delegation, Javier will be the only representative of an indigenous rainforest group to be participating in the negotiations for a global solution to climate change. In support of Cool Earth’s "Tree for a £" campaign, the tribesman will reveal the number of trees saved and the amount of rainforest protected through the Tree for a £ initiative at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen on 16 December 2009.

Javier Dril Bustamante says: “World leaders travel to Copenhagen to discuss climate change while our people are fighting for their lives to halt the destruction of our rainforest. We depend on our forest for absolutely everything. The world depends on it for a stable climate. The UN must recognise that supporting our battle is the first step in protecting the planet.”

Cool Earth leads the way in community-led avoided deforestation and believes that conservation only works when local people are both managing and benefitting from environmental protection. By sponsoring a tree, people will be supporting rainforest communities while at the same time being able to cut CO² emissions.

Javier Dril Bustamante continues: “Working with Cool Earth is securing the future of our community. Cool Earth is helping us protect our land and our trees from the loggers. So far, we have been able to build a local school for the young children in our community and also develop ways to generate income such as growing cocoa plants for chocolate makers. This will ensure we remain guardians of the rainforest.”

The simple act of sponsoring just one tree - be it the mighty Mahogany or the powerful Peruvian Pine - stops its imminent destruction and ensures that the tree is left standing. It will also rescue 1,200 species that rely on it to survive and stop 30 tonnes of CO² emissions being released into the atmosphere.

How it works
To protect an endangered tree, people simply go online at [URL][/URL] and click on to ‘Protect a Tree’. This will then lead to a step by step guide to help users choose the tree they want to protect. The selection process has been designed to be simple and immediately impactful: each species of tree has been carefully illustrated; the trees vital statistics detailed including their height; girth; amount of CO² stored along with amazing facts about each tree. A tree can be protected from as little as £1. Cool Earth has teamed up with Google Maps to allow people who protect a tree to view the area where it exists in the Peruvian rainforest. Sponsors will also receive an update four times a year from Cool Earth’s rangers telling them about the status of the forest, its biodiversity and the local communities benefitting from their support.

Since its launch in 2007, Cool Earth has prevented 30 million tonnes of CO² emissions through community-led rainforest conservation. It has over 110,000 members in 14 countries that have collectively protected over 125,000 acres (or 50,587 hectares) to date.

Personalities who are actively supporting Cool Earth’s campaign include Sir David Attenborough, James Lovelock. Jarvis Cocker, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Chris Stewart, Ian Hislop, Nick Hornby, Philip Pullman, Bill Bryson, Emma Thompson, Ricky Gervais, Ruby Wax and Jo Brand. Acres and trees have also been protected by businesses including The Co-operative Bank, Pearson plc, Walkers, Tropicana, BUPA Travel, Head, Brother International Europe, Alamy, Birmigham International Airport, Grosvenor Continental, Profile Books, Vertigo, WEXAS, World LPG Association, Medicash, Wrapsol, Keycamp, Buy A Gift and Chevron.

Cool Earth’s Director Matthew Owen sums up: “We know people are keen to do their bit for the environment and protecting a tree in the rainforest is one simple and cost effective way we can do it to really drive change and have a positive impact on our climate right now.”

For more information please visit [URL][/URL]