Saturday, July 24, 2010

An Interview with Abby Ray, Communications Associate at The Rainforest Alliance

Here is Part 2 of our interview with Abby Ray, our contact at the Rainforest Alliance.

What would happen if all of our rainforests disappeared?
With the release of all of that CO2 into the atmosphere from cutting all of those trees, we’d see a big impact on climate change. There would be major soil erosion, waterway contamination, increased instances of malaria and increased illness. We’d lose species that currently we don’t even know exist, and we’d lose all of those precious and unique creatures that only reside in rainforests.

What is the connection between conserving the rainforest and social and economic factors?
We see sustainability as having three equally important pillars: environmental, social and economic. For many poor communities living in areas of high biodiversity, the forest is worth more cut down than it is standing. They can sell the timber and grow agricultural products, or graze cattle. If forests are to have a higher value intact, they need to provide local communities with a sustainable livelihood, and that’s where the social and economic factors come into play. Without those components, we’ll continue to see rainforest destruction and illegal logging in “preserved areas,” despite our best intentions. If communities can receive Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)/Rainforest Alliance certification for their forests, they often have better market access and can learn to responsibly manage their land so that it retains wildlife and its precious ecosystems. We have also developed a climate initiative to work on helping communities receive payment for ecosystem services – or compensating landowners for the carbon that their forests store.

What can the average person do to help conserve the rainforest?
It is up to all of us to act responsibly. You can help protect ecosystems and the people and wildlife that depend on them by holding an Adopt-A-Rainforest fundraiser, becoming a member of the Rainforest Alliance and buying responsibly produced foods, wood and paper products. You can look for the Rainforest Alliance Certified green frog seal in your local grocery stores. Take responsible vacations, and ask questions about the hotel’s social and environmental policies. We have all of these tips and more on our Green Living Tips page:

Is there anything that you would like add?
You can watch great videos on our website for an easier way to understand what we do:The Rainforest Alliance. Also, follow us on
and Facebook.

To find out more about the Rainforest or about the Rainforest Alliance, please visit - The Rainforest Alliance.

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