• 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.
    • 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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    Nov 4 2013: Precisely, the question to answer would be "who do the natural resources belong to- do they belong to the country it is found in or does it belong to humanity as a whole?" Because asking a country to save their rain-forests when that is the only resource they have for economic development would be unjust unless the development of that country is seen as the responsibility of the rest of the world as well.
    • Nov 4 2013: Your statement bears the blatant assumption that by protecting rainforests you sacrifice economic development, if you had understood the main point of my idea you might disagree.

      I do understand your reasoning, in legal terms rainforests are owned generally by the countries in which they are located, yet their role for medicine, climate regulation etc.. affects the world. As a result of of this, their destruction affects us all. Because other countries have made mistakes in destroying much of their natural heritage does not mean those with intact wilderness areas should. With that reasoning everyone is totally screwed long term.

      I am saying that rainforests can be protected and still remain a major source of income for the people of a rainforest bearing country through tourism. To name but one method.

      The destruction of rainforests is extremely short sighted, you cut it down and you make a lot of money, after that you make very little and what land is left is barley fertile. I make the economic argument, that long term, conserving rainforests for tourism, natural product harvesting etc, is more profitable.

      I'm saying that if you visit, you fund this industry and thereby help to protect the rainforest.

      I know this because I have seen it.
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        Nov 5 2013: I am just stating the blatant assumption that the governments are making to cut down rainforests for cattle ranching, logging, mining, building roads and pipelines. I totally agree with you that saving it should be made more profitable. all i suggest is that saving it should be every governments responsibility. The countries with rainforests do need capital make the country attractive for tourism. How safe is it for tourists in countries with large areas of rain forests? There is a lot to be done and the world has to join in to save them. A country alone cannot do it. If there are sanctions for human rights violation there should also be sanctions for rainforest destructions- but also rewards for saving them.
        • Nov 7 2013: You're right in that government's do have a responsibility, however these are not the only people that can make a difference, anyone can, which is partly my point.

          In many countries, like the one I was working in, it is very safe to visit, I think the perceived risk is much higher than the actual one, same goes for many places. This is true for South America, but for African rainforests the story is totally different like you say. Tourism has been tried and is done, but political problems have always prevented it taking off to the same extent.

          Totally agree with your human rights point because at the end of the day they are inextricably linked.
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    Nov 3 2013: Great documentary; thank you.
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    Nov 3 2013: The destruction of our rainforests is driven by poverty.If there was a global fund to compensate local rural communities they wouldn't need to exploit it . the problem being local governments in those regions are corrupt and any funds would be. syphoned. Off to fill there own pockets.
    From my mobile
    • Nov 3 2013: Personally I don't think paying subsidies to millions of people for not doing something harmful is a winning strategy. I'm talking about what you can actually do as an individual to help conserve the rainforest, not the government. Tourism is a viable economic alternative to logging, mining etc... We need to find ways to make money from conserving our rainforests. This way everyone gets what they want.
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        Nov 3 2013: Not even if the subsidies were invested in alternative employment and trades for communities living on the rainforests periphery instead of logging. farming and hunting?
        • Nov 3 2013: Well yeah then that would be great, as long as the investment is helping the economy to be sustainable in its own right, like start-up grants or no interest loans for businesses promoting conservation.

          I read your previous comment to mean 'Give the loggers and miners money to sit on their arse's for not working!
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    Nov 1 2013: To back up the people who can really contribute something directly to save the rainforest.