Thursday, 22 December 2011

An Introduction to Learning about the Rainforests

It is both a cause for concern and a matter of some regret that in spite of serving on the committee of a charity called Rainforest Saver,,  my genuine knowledge of the rainforests could probably be squeezed onto an A4 sheet of paper.  In some ways this doesn’t matter too much. I know enough about them to know how precious and important they are. I also understand how the system of agriculture we are promoting called Inga Alley Cropping can not only lift poor slash and burn farmers out of poverty but also potentially save millions of acres of rainforests from destruction. Yet having visited our project partners in Honduras in September 2010 and having experienced a little of the rich diversity that tropical rainforests possess, I would like to gain a greater understanding of these remarkable eco-systems. 

I would also like to give a voice to the peoples that live in and around the rainforests, who know and value these eco-systems and whose very livelihoods depend upon them. It is the rights of these people that are so often overlooked by Western politicians when making their deals at conferences. It is these people that are sometimes thrown off the land they make their living from by decisions which claim to be protecting the rainforests. It is these people, who should hold the keys to protecting these vital eco-systems but who are too often ignored in decisions which affect their future livelihoods.

Yet one of the most encouraging signs of change is that such people are beginning to stand up for their rights. They are joining together to campaign for a fairer deal in this rapidly changing world and using the web to get their voices heard.  They are joined also by a few people in the so called ‘developed world’, who wish to help both protect the rainforests and the livelihoods of the people that live amongst them. To be effective in doing this though, it is helpful if they know as much as possible about both the lives of the people and the lives of the rainforests.  If you are asking people to give money to support projects, it is good to know not only about how this or that particular project will help the land and people, but also to be able to tell people details about the lives of the rainforest lands and the peoples. Thus in trying to learn more about the rainforests, I hope that I will not only be satisfying my own curiosity but also making myself a better advocate for the cause.

But I need help!!! I want to hear stories from the peoples that live in and around the rainforests. I want to know about the trees, plants, animals and people – about their daily lives, about their struggles, about their pleasures and their pain. I hope that the people and organizations to whom I send emails will provide much of the material for the first 4 blogs that I intend to write. They will be an introduction to the rainforests of four regions of the world – Central America, South America, Africa and South-east Asia. Hopefully when I have finished this task, I will know a little bit more about both the peoples and the habitats of the rainforests.

If anyone reading this has a story about a rainforest they would like to relate to me, I'd be delighted to hear from them and can be contacted at .

Charles Barber
Chairman of Rainforest Saver –

Other Organizations that are worth checking out

The Global Forest Coalition -