Meet the Cool Earth team: Kitty
By Anna-Lucy Terry Tuesday 27 August 2013
At OVO, we're protecting an acre of rainforest for each and every one of our customers through our friends at Cool Earth, protecting plants, people and animals. Now it's high time you met the team behind the conservation!
Cool Earth's doing an incredible job of halting deforestation by enpowering the people who live there. Along with help from their partners (like OVO!), the team's doing a truly incredible job of protecting the rainforest - and combatting climate change by doing so. First up, we're introducing Kitty, Cool Earth's Project Manager.
Who am I? I’m Cool Earth’s Project Manager. I deal with all things “rainforest”. I manage Cool Earth’s existing projects and develop new ones, making sure our community partners are calling the shots when it comes to their rainforest. I also write Cool Earth’s content for our supporters, partners and our social media, which is why I am a fountain of irrelevant facts.
Three words that describe me: I wish I could say co-ordinated, concise, graceful. Sadly, the reality is clumsy, rambling, tomboy.
What excites me most about Cool Earth: Cool Earth’s model is all about local people. We work with villages whose homes are now on the frontline of deforestation, giving them the resources they need to keep their forest intact. We’re the only charity with this approach. It is what makes Cool Earth unique and what I love most about my work.
The best thing about working with OVO: OVO protects an acre of rainforest for each of their customers, which is testament to their commitment to the environment. I like picturing all of OVO’s customers throughout the UK each with their own patch of protected forest.
My favourite Cool Earth moment was in Peru with some of our donors. A few of us went for a swim in the river and started skimming stones. I managed to send a stone directly into the crotch of one of Cool Earth’s trustees. I’ve never seen a man fold in half quite like it… and stay silent for so long. The riverbank exploded with laughter from the locals, the universal language of being hit in the testicles.
The Cool Earth project that is closest to my heart is…our newest, the Awajún project. I’ve worked on it since day one and it has been three years in the making. They Awajún are renowned for being fiercely independent. The region is one of the only places in Peru where petrol companies are withdrawing off indigenous lands because of the Awajún’s insistence that the companies need their consent. The women are really feisty and I love spending time with them.
Cool Earth has a positive impact on local communities and my favourite memory is from Maria Mortiquiri. Last year Maria suffered from an ectopic pregnancy. The village where she is from, Pajonal, is an eight-hour boat journey and two-hour car journey from the nearest hospital. The cost of transport and treatment meant that before the project Maria would have been unable to afford treatment. With the project’s funds, Maria was evacuated to hospital and her life was saved. It’s great to see her back home where she not only acts as a midwife but also as Pajonal’s village elder.
If Cool Earth were to vanish today: There would be a huge gaping hole in the forest’s defences. Other organisations do a great job of protecting forest in the interior but there needs to be people equipping villages, preventing the arc of deforestation from sweeping deep into pristine forest.
My Guilty Pleasure…I confess that Cher’s ‘Believe’ can often be found as the last played song on my iPod…I’m not proud of it but just can’t help belting it out.
OVO customers help support Cool Earth on our Facebook Page! As someone who pours their soul into finding random facts and pictures for our Facebook page – I’d say get involved with that. It’ll make you smile and you might even gain a conversational gambit to wow people with down the pub.
Who is your favourite Cool Earth supporter? A girl who calls herself Eco Elise and who is utterly determined to save the rainforest. She’s got her school campaigning, been on BBC, fundraised for Cool Earth and her artwork even ended up being used by Vivienne Westwood at one of her fashion shows to highlight the issue of climate change. She’s a force of nature and a fantastic inspiration
One fact that would make the public sit up and listen! Saving one acre of rainforest stores the same amount of CO2 that is released by driving a car around the world 32 times. That one always surprises people.
What I would most like to achieve with Cool Earth in the future. Having a project in each of the world’s three rainforest continents would be a fantastic achievement and one we are working hard to make a reality. It would be a clear sign that the Cool Earth model can be adapted to work anywhere in the world, protecting rainforest from destruction.