TED Conversations

  • MR T
  • Bristol
  • United Kingdom

This conversation is closed.

Precisely what you can do to save the rainforest.

To introduce myself, I am a biologist and film-maker. During a year spent working in Peru's remote Amazon I created a wildlife documentary to promote the continued protection of one of the worlds richest forests.

The Tambopata region in which I was working is a huge conservation success story. Eco-lodges sited along the Tambopata river provide an alternate source of income for the local economy that doesn't damage the rainforest as does logging, gold mining and other major economic powers in the area. Costa rica has also done this very successfully and I believe other countries should follow suit. Rainforest's can be a significant economic resource without being exploited.

If you have some spare time, I ask that you watch my film, appreciate the beauty of the rainforest and if you can, visit. Please send and share it with anyone you think may be interested or like to go.

There are many areas close to the Tambopata that are not yet afforded legal protection, the lower Las Piedras river would be one of them. The diversity is astounding there and you can help promote conservation in the area by visiting one of the two lodges along that river.

Feel free to message me for more information.



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    Nov 4 2013: The obvious (maybe too obvious) way forward is to make rainforest preservation more profitable than rainforest destruction.

    1. Change consumer behaviour: It's my belief that consumer behaviour could be swayed by improved information about where consumer goods come from and how they are manufactured. Perhaps starting with a "responsibly sourced" certification of some sort.

    2. Provide incentives for business to sponsor/preserve rainforest rather than destroy: One suggestion is based on the fact that carbon taxation laws are pretty vulnerable at the moment and governments seem to be looking for the flimsiest excuses to repeal. Perhaps some sort of Carbon Offsetting mechanism could be proposed which required a certain area of rainforest be sponsored for a give carbon output.

    3. Provide the facility for individuals to sponsor and then virtually monitor their own area of rainforest, which they could then visit as a physical tourist if they wanted. I'm talking here about a global initiative which allowed individuals to sponsor say 10 acres of rainforest. By means of new ICT technologies it should be possible to iinstall cameras/microphones etc so that sponsors could login and virtually "visit" their pocket of rainforest. Local rangers could communicate with more detail about flora/fauna. This would provide a global sense of ownership and investment which will in turn engender a global custodianship.

    These are just some brainstorming ideas. I have no idea if these are feasible or have already been tried (I'm guessing all of these are pretty well known initiatives).

    Either way the principle remains: replace "bad" revenue streams with "good" revenue streams. There must be ways to monetise such a global resource without ripping it down.

    P.S. Forgot to congratulate you on a great piece of film making. Well done.
    • MR T

      • 0
      Nov 7 2013: Thanks! those kinds of ideas are great and I am aware of several organisations doing those kind of things.

      Many environmentalists argue that we need to change our whole economic system etc to protect the environment, but in reality this just isn't going to happen.

      Like you say, to make conservation work we need to find ways to make immediate & long term profit from leaving wild areas intact.

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