Defending Global Ecosystems With Community Engagement
Deforestation generates about 20 percent of greenhouse gasses, which contribute to global warming and climate change. Deforestation also cripples our planet’s ability to filter carbon dioxide from our air. Unfortunately, deforestation also threatens entire watersheds, endangered species and endangered cultures around the world.
A public relations firm is donating its services to raise money for a pioneering reforestation program in Tanzania and Kenya. The project is the first step of a global program that will help fight climate change and poverty, while protecting endangered species from loss of habitat and rampant wildlife poaching in both Tanzania and Kenya.
Crossbow has joined forces with Sacred Seedlings, an international reforestation and forest conservation program. Together, they hope to raise millions of dollars for forest conservation and reforestation programs around the world. The first phase of the project is in Kilimanjaro District of Tanzania.
“Our partners in Tanzania have developed a plan with the forestry department to plant 10 million trees over the next five years at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro,” said Gary Chandler, CEO of Crossbow. “These trees will create jobs, preserve habitat for endangered species and help offset human contributions to climate change.”
As Chandler explained, some of the trees will be used to reforest degraded forests and deforested areas. Other species of trees will be grown to produce crops near villages and in towns and cities (coffee and cocoa, for example). Other trees will be placed near homes and buildings to protect them from the elements, reduce energy consumption, and minimize greenhouse gas emissions caused by energy demands. Sacred Seedlings also will fund several solar ovens for villagers to minimize the need to cut firewood for cooking. The company is developing similar programs around the world.
Tanzania also is one of the last strongholds for wildlife in Africa. The country known for the Serengeti National Park and other natural wonders is under siege by wildlife poachers. Last year, more than 10,000 elephants in Tanzania were slaughtered for their ivory. The strong demand for ivory in China and Thailand, for example, tempts locals in Tanzania and surrounding countries to kill elephants to feed their families. Unless economic interventions, such as job creation, succeed, the African elephant will be gone from the wild within the next decade. Rhinos and lions also are highly endangered and face the same fate. “We’re tracking down sponsors, grants and donors to help make this program possible,” Chandler said. “This will be the first of several reforestation programs around the world. Hopefully, we can launch several across Colorado and the America’s very soon.”
While Crossbow will sell sponsorship packages to corporations and foundations to fund the bulk of the project work, it’s launching a novel program to generate some immediate seed money for projects that are ready to proceed. According to Chandler, his web development team will donate the rest of 2013 to the “Web Of Life” campaign to raise money for reforestation. All revenues generated in this arena will be donated to Sacred Seedlings and its project partners in Tanzania.
“Our project will incorporate several species of trees that are indigenous to the area,” said Tumaini Mosha, project director for Mellowswan Foundation Africa-Tanzania. “Crop-bearing trees such as coffee, cocoa and palm also will be grown and planted in some urban areas and villages to block buildings from the weather and to grow food. That way people won’t cut the trees down for firewood.”
In addition to the loss of wildlife habitat and vital biodiversity, deforestation is responsible for about 20 percent of the rise in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The rise in greenhouse gases, both human caused and natural, is contributing to unprecedented levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, which is contributing to climate change and extreme weather.
Sacred Seedlings, a division of Crossbow, has formed a partnership with the Mellowswan Foundation Africa-Tanzania, EnviCulture and Earth Keepers to plant 100 million trees over the next four years in the Kilimanjaro District and beyond. For more information, please visit www.SacredSeedlings.com/east-africa-projects