Sinking Carbon: Forests, Soil, and Community
March 12, 2016
Chances are there will not be a single game-changing innovation to solve the pressing and complex environmental challenges of our time. To step into the fullness of our global story is to acknowledge the nuances of ecological, social, technological, economical and cultural forces at play.
This February, one of Namaste Foundation’s collaborating partners Kiwi Connect hosted a gathering outside of Wellington, New Zealand called New Frontiers. As described by Alina Siegfried of Kiwi Connect, “New Frontiers is designed to be a platform for cross pollination of vastly different ideas, perspectives, and voices to come together... to discuss topics of shared importance. It was a forum for untangling the large and complex challenges humanity faces, and opportunities to innovate locally and globally that can drastically improve wellbeing across the planet.”
It became clear that we could not gather leaders from around the globe to discuss the environment without acknowledging the carbon it took to get everyone into one place. For example, one roundtrip ticket from San Francisco to Wellington alone can contribute the equivalent of ~2 tons of CO2 to the atmosphere.
To help restore balance to our collective footprint, the Namaste Foundation organized a four-vector gift series with teams working in innovative ways to protect forests and sequester carbon. Read more below about some of the inspiring projects we found:
“Women as a force of nature - on behalf of nature...”
TreeSisters works in a multi-pronged approach to nourish the roots of collective action. Through resources and courses, this team empowers women as agents of ecological regeneration. With feminine nature-based intelligence and leadership at its core this group has catalyzed a global community of over 103,000 people and funded their first 59,700 trees. Through education and empowerment, this movement-building community is normalizing the mechanisms for nature connectedness and the gifting of money for trees! Their partnering strategy with existing reforestation projects and tree initiatives address a wide range of ecological and social benefits.
Through education, engineering and advocacy work, Carbon Cycle Institute brings scalable solutions to the advancement of carbon farming and regenerative rangeland management. With land management as the second largest contributor to carbon dioxide emissions on planet earth, CCI’s work on ranches, farms and working landscapes taps into the immense potential of the agricultural sector, as the one sector capable of transforming from a net emitter of CO2 to a net sequestrator of CO2.
CCI’s carbon literacy training and educational programs for farmers and ranchers, policy makers, thought leaders and the general public alongside strategic partnerships with NGOS, government agencies and business furthers their work in the building of soil carbon and critical ecosystem services.
“Environmental philanthropy solutions for companies and individuals”
Through community partnerships, business networks and technological innovation, Ekos is a conservation boutique that provides carbon offseting tools to prevent rainforests from being logged. This is achieved by creating value for indigenous communities through the conservation of ‘ecological services’ such as soil formation, nutrient cycling, water purification, water supply, building materials, flood regulation, food, climate regulation, scenery, and recreation. Instead of selling timber, the indigenous peoples Ekos works within New Zealand and the Pacific Islands to sell carbon offsets to individuals and businesses that secure access to economic development, local employment and income in a fair trade manner.
“The heart of the rainforest is the village that protects it.”
Cool Earth works alongside 118 indigenous villages to halt rainforest destruction. Their rainforest partnerships in the Amazon, the Congo, and Oceania put local communities back in control and arm them with the resources they need to keep their forest intact.
As well as trees kept standing, Cool Earth's partner villages report enhanced wellbeing and happiness, higher levels of education, better health, and increased income from sustainable livelihoods. This network of resilient partner villages is growing organically and globally forms a shield for 5 million acres of pristine rainforest, locking in over 140 million tonnes of CO2. Through successful projects in all three of the world's major rainforest biomes, Cool Earth has shown the international community that it is local people - not patrols, governments, or boardrooms - who are saving forests.