June 13, 2009

The gift for someone who has everything

Conservation International is a highly ranked organization protecting species and habitats. In fact CI has been ranked as one of the 10 best charities anyone has ever heard of.
According to CI, every 4 hours an area the size of Manhattan is burned down for grazing animals, releasing more carbon than we all emit driving SUVs.
It reminds me of that horrible scene in Lord of the Rings where Saruman turns his gorgeous tree-lined grounds into a fiery pit from Hell so he can build a goblin factory. There's even a memorable quote: 'The old world will burn in the fires of industry.' Heavy. But at least he wanted to take over the world, we just do it so we can eat more hamburgers.
Clearing rainforests is responsible for about 20% of carbon emmissions. Funnily enough, with that uncanny symmetry you sometimes find with important numbers, the rain forests are also reponsible for producing 20% of our oxygen.
When I read stuff like this I fear that we are fated to go the way of the dodo bird, which was too stupid to survive. Actually that's not quite fair since there's some controversy about whether the dodo was stupid or just unlucky. When it comes to people, however, there's less controversy.
The good news is that we can all help protect a global resource that helps keep us alive by buying an acre or two of rainforest. If we own it, they can't burn it down and put cows on it.
You get a lovely certificate of purchase, which makes a great gift for that person who has everything. It also makes a fine hostess gift - for example, Ralf and I are taking one to a barbeque this afternoon.
(Yes I see the irony.)
PS I think all our friends can guess what they're getting for Christmas this year.


  1. A well-written post! Yet another reason for me to stay vegetarian.

    Actually, if only people would boycott hamburger chains and eat vegetarian food 2-3 times a week, then we would be making more of an impact perhaps than buying certificates.. although this too is a good idea!

  2. So, is this certificate made out of chocolate? Or trees?

  3. I'll have to think about that... But how do you know what forest is yours? I always wondered about the company that let you "Adopt and Name A Star." How many people have certificates for the same star?

    just wondering...

  4. If this truly can protect an acre, I am all over it!

  5. All good points!

    Kristina, the certificate is actually online, you can choose to print it out or not and if you do, you pick what paper you put in your printer - recycled, etc.

    Bebe and Debbie - you can never know for sure about these things but there are organizations that check out and rate charities and this one seems to have a good rating.

    LadyFi - totally agree that cutting down on the meat is a good move. And it's something you can do on your own without involving a 3rd party.

  6. It's hard to wrap my mind around the fact that there is continued clearing of land for beef. Isn't there enough (way too much) already? And then how much beef is wasted (think of all the restaurants that through it away after its past its time limit--which is like, what? 4 hours?) And how much fat Americans don't need all that doggone beef.

    Wonder if I can go camping in that acre?


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