Preserve Trees Instead of Planting Them!
This is an excerpt from the new issue of Giving Insights produced by New Philanthropy Capital, a British-based company which has created a wealth of materials for discerning donors. This article reminds me of a theme emerging frequently as donors become more sophisticated -- the idea that good is the enemy of best. In this case, planting trees may be great but keeping them alive makes even more sense:
Planting trees might be a great way to ease our collective environmental conscience. But if we want to save the planet, perhaps we have been barking up the wrong tree.
Planting forests is one of the most common ways of offsetting
carbon emissions. For just £5, an offsetting company will plant a tree and thereby compensate for roughly half the emissions produced on a round trip from London to New York. But stopping trees from being cut down in the first place could well be a far more effective way of tackling climate change.
Deforestation is responsible for 20% of global CO2 emissions. That is more than the CO2 produced by the global transportation industry and almost as much as is produced by global power generation, according to last year's Stern Review. Illegal logging also funds civil wars and supports oppressive regimes in countries like Burma.
The charity Global Witness (GW) campaigns worldwide to stop this destructive timber trade. It uses information gained through rigorous on-the-ground investigations to lobby governments, companies and financial institutions to promote the transparent and sustainable use of natural resources.