Communications Consultant An Environmental Leader
A new report from the United Nations Programme says that the Mt. Kilimanjaro region is one of the most threatened ecosystems on earth. Its collapse will displace millions of people and contribute to the extinction of several endangered species, including elephants, lions and rhinos. The report bolsters our plan to promote reforestation, sustainable agriculture, forest conservation and wildlife conservation strategies to save this fragile region from collapse.
The UN report says that reforestation is one of the best ways to defend this vital region. We’re taking an even more comprehensive approach that will enlist the support of thousands of local stakeholders.
“The damage done to these ecosystems is depriving people of the basic building blocks of life,” said Erik Solheim, head of the UN Environment agency.
Mount Kilimanjaro is facing several problems, including shrinking glaciers, rampant wildfires and deforestation. As climate change intensifies, it is essential to stop the downward momentum.
Crossbow Communications, a public affairs and public relations firm based in the U.S., has volunteered its services to raise money for Sacred Seedlings, an international reforestation and forest conservation program.
“Our partners in Tanzania have a plan to plant 10 million trees over the next five years in strategic locations around Mt. Kilimanjaro,” said Gary Chandler, president 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.
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. Thousands more have been killed in Kenya. 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 face the same fate.
The Mellowswan Foundation Africa-Tanzania reached out to Sacred Seedlings in July in search of solutions to save the country’s iconic wildlife. The two organizations immediately began crafting a reforestation plan to help fight poverty, climate change and wildlife poaching. Other NGOs including EnviCulture and Earth Keepers have jumped on board to support the program, while expanding it to Kenya.
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 web pros will build blogs and websites for companies, small businesses, nonprofits and individuals to raise money for global reforestation,” Chandler said. “We will devote the next 10 weeks to this campaign, so please help us spread the word. It’s a great deal and a great cause.”
The company hopes to raise $100,000 to start construction on three nurseries in the shadows of Mt. Kilimanjaro in early 2014. It will cost about $1.1 million to build the nurseries and plant 10 million trees over the next five years. The company has several other projects in development now to accommodate growing global support for reforestation. The company’s goal is to plant as many trees as possible as fast as possible to help mitigate carbon buildup in the atmosphere, which is contributing to climate change and extreme weather events.
The “Web Of Life” campaign includes custom web/blog development for $4,950. Hosting and email services are slightly more. Clients must supply all copy, photos, artwork and logos. More complex sites and e-commerce sites will be assessed and estimates provided at no cost. No reasonable offer from anywhere in the world will be refused. Supporters will be listed and linked on the program website at www.SacredSeedlings.com/east-africa-projects.