Tropical rainforests have been called the “jewels of the Earth” and the “world’s largest pharmacy“. Over one quarter of natural medicines have been discovered there. Rainforests are also responsible for 28% of the world’s oxygen turnover.
I chose to highlight rainforest conservation first as part of our Home Project Campaign. I probably don’t have to go over the many reasons why we need to rescue and resuscitate the world’s rainforests. Rainforests represent a store of living and breathing renewable natural resources that have contributed a wealth of resources for the survival and well-being of humankind. But humankind is also putting pressure on delicate ecosystems and they are suffering. Consumption of everything on the planet has risen at a cost to our very life forces.
“In 1950, about 15 percent of the Earth’s land surface was covered by rainforest. Today, more than half has already gone up in smoke. In fewer than fifty years, more than half of the world’s tropical rainforests have fallen victim to fire and the chain saw, and the rate of destruction is still accelerating. Unbelievably, more than 200,000 acres of rainforest are burned every day. That is more than 150 acres lost every minute of every day, and 78 million acres lost every year! More than 20 percent of the Amazon rainforest is already gone, and much more is severely threatened as the destruction continues. It is estimated that the Amazon alone is vanishing at a rate of 20,000 square miles a year. If nothing is done to curb this trend, the entire Amazon could well be gone within fifty years.“
So what can we do?
There are a lot of things you can do at home to help this situation by being conscientious about what and how you consume. But if you want to do more, there are many great organizations that you can volunteer with to help save our rainforests.
United Planet: United Planet has several projects from 1 week up to a year that you can sign up for. They have some short term conservation and environmental education programs where volunteers daily duties may include any of the following: constructing and maintaining nature trails, building fences, repairing wooden bridges, making plant nurseries, making fertilizers from dead plants, researching and identifying plants, sowing plants, or teaching the local community about recycling and the environment. They also have a sea turtle conservation project in Sothern Costa Rica and an exciting eco-farm project near Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica where you can can work in construction, harvest crops, plant trees, help with the soil conservation tasks, maintain medicinal plants and help with the production of organic fertilizer.
Go Abroad: Go Abroad has pretty amazing Amazon Rainforest Conservation and Community Development programs. For either five or ten weeks, volunteers will live in a remote area to experience the rainforest’s rich biodiversity, support rainforest conservation, work towards community development and become a valued member of the wildlife research team. Located in on the Napo River between the cities of Tena and Coca in the eastern part of Ecuador, the volunteering expedition is only accessible by motorized canoe.
“Volunteers carry out scientific field research, which has the overall aim of wildlife and rainforest conservation. Working alongside professional researchers, you will be involved in tracking and identifying species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, butterflies and plant species, as well as aiding the maintenance of a permanent, full-time biological field station to generate national and international conservation interest.”
Earthwatch Institute: Help scientists unravel the mystery of the world’s vanishing frog species in an eastern Australian rainforest. You’ll explore the fertile mountain forests of Australia’s Hunter region, collecting data that will help scientists understand frog populations. Volunteers contribute to the exciting discovery of new species of frog and will identify both healthy and struggling frog populations. With Earthwatch you can also go to India and measure trees in the western ghats where over 2/3 of the forests have already been cleared and only 15% of the remaining area is protected. “The team also conducts field research by measuring the growth rate of trees and gathering other information vital to understanding the progression of the effects of climate change on the destruction of the forests.“
GVI USA: Protect the rainforest habitat of the Orang Sungai Community. This project, located on the banks of the Kinabatangan River in Borneo, is home to a diverse array of animal species, including; orangutans, pygmy elephants, gibbons, proboscis monkeys, otters and crocodiles. Unfortunately, logging and palm oil plantations are currently having a devastating effect on wildlife habitat and on the rainforest as a whole. Volunteers will assist the local community’s efforts to create and provide alternative and sustainable ways to make a living that do not negatively impact the local ecosystem. They also have many more rainforest conservation projects in South America and Australia.
The cost to volunteer for one these projects starts about $1700 for most of your arrangements and accommodations though do not including airfare, visas and travel insurance. Of course, that’s why I started Love Infinitely Project, to make these volunteer opportunities much more affordable for the general public and hopefully covering most if not all the costs for you. In the meantime, if you have the time and resources and want to head out to make a difference and save the rainforests, these are great places to start. If you have questions about these organizations or want to know about other ways in which to help, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Love Infinitely on Twitter: @LoveInfinitelyP