By Jarett Emert and Brian McFarland
Floating down the Jurupari River, after more than 20 hours of flying and over 7 hours of driving down pothole-lined highways, it is now more apparent than ever the importance of our work. With each bend along the river, a new dazzling sight is seen. Towering trees stand over 120 feet with bright red and yellow flowers, colorful toucans and scarlet macaw parrots flying overhead, the chattering of squirrel monkeys, dozens of rural communities settled along the remote riverside, and hoatzins, ancient birds whose young still have claws on their wings that are reminiscence of pterodactyls, are nestled in trees.
We work for the Carbonfund.org Foundation, a nonprofit that provides funding to energy efficiency, renewable energy and forestry projects around the world and here in the US. In addition, we have developed several world-class forest conservation projects in the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest, including the Envira Amazonia Project alongside the Jurupari River, that are designed to mitigate deforestation, improve the life quality of local communities, and preserve some of the richest biodiversity on Earth.
The Amazon rainforest is often referred to as the “lungs of the Earth,” but the effects of deforestation have threatened that. Deforestation accounts for 15 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions. This is more than the entire global transportation sector and second only to the energy sector. Think about all the vehicles in traffic, not just on the Capital Beltway or Connecticut Avenue, but in every town and major metropolitan area each day of the year and consider that global deforestation accounts for significantly more greenhouse gas emissions — it is astonishing and disastrous, but provides a tremendous opportunity to make lasting change.
The Envira Amazonia Project is protecting nearly 500,000 acres of rainforest from deforestation. We have worked with the owners of this land to voluntarily forego plans to convert the forests to a large-scale cattle ranch. Instead they will implement numerous activities to assist local communities and mitigate deforestation pressures, such as offering agricultural extension training courses, patrolling potential deforestation sites, granting land tenure to local communities, and establishing alternative economic activities including commercializing the collection of medicinal plants and açaí. Through all of this work, the Envira Amazonia Project will mitigate the release of more than 12.5 million tons of carbon dioxide.
To date, we have brought four projects like the Envira Amazonia Project through a rigorous certification process that ensures they are delivering net positive climate, community, and biodiversity benefits. These certification standards are known as the Verified Carbon Standard and the Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Standard and all four of Carbonfund.org’s projects earned Gold Distinction for their exceptional climate change adaptation, biodiversity, and/or community benefits. Such local benefits included providing agricultural extension courses, building health clinics, and distributing mosquito nets to local communities.
With help from the Combined Federal Campaign contributors, Carbonfund.org Foundation (CFC# 62681) is working actively to further our incredible efforts to protect these rainforests and enhance the lives of these rural forest communities.