OVO and Cool Earth - a 5 year roundup.
18 March 2016 | Ray Mills-Morrow
100,000 acres of rainforest, 700 families and 2 big adventures later...
OVO and Cool Earth started working together back in 2010 – and since then, we’ve worked with indigenous people in the Amazon rainforest to achieve some seriously big things. So let’s take a look at what our customers have helped Cool Earth achieve over the past 5 years…
Putting people first
From the very outset the team at OVO HQ loved Cool Earth’s innovative approach to rainforest conservation. Cool Earth pioneered a new way of working that empowers indigenous people to protect their forest, giving them the resources they need to keep their trees standing. Cool Earth’s ‘light touch’ approach also empowers communities financially by supporting the development of sustainable income streams. This means that when loggers come knocking, local families have the financial stability to say no:
“We continue to look after our forest for our children. We will not sell our forest to the loggers because we know that these companies will clean the forest out. We can see that this is what they have done in neighbouring communities. They are ending up with no forest; they are not thinking about their children.”
Jamie Huamán Casanto, Camantavishi village
So far, OVO customers have empowered 700 families through Cool Earth.
But putting local people in control is only half the story. As partner villages link up, this creates a shield making millions of acres of forest behind them inaccessible to loggers.
People + passion + practical support = real change
Fast-forward 5 years, and the combination of Cool Earth’s expertise, OVO’s backing and over 700 forest-guardian families have racked up some big numbers:
100,000 acres of rainforest safeguarded
2,960 indigenous people supported
40% increase in community income
72% of the population can get medical care in an hour
77% of children are now in better schools
And that's just the start…
The numbers tell only half the story. The real difference is the freedom and pride the local families feel. They no longer face impossible choices: – they can protect the forest that they see as their family legacy, and live well today.
“Our trees are safe, I can sleep well at night again. We’re telling our neighbours about Cool Earth. Working with Cool Earth to protect our trees means all our families benefit. It’s better than selling wood to benefit a few.”
Leopoldo Chimanga Chumpate, Oviri village
OVO in Peru
Over the course of our partnership, OVO has visited the families we support in Central Peru a number of times. Most recently, a team of 4 OVO employees spent 10 days in the Asháninka region of Central Peru visiting 5 different villages – so remote you can’t even find them on Google maps!
Over to Alexandra Tigan, Product Manager, one of the lucky ones who experienced the rainforest first hand.
“The Asháninka take every day as it comes, enjoying the good and the bad without dwelling upon past struggles or future worries. Their joie de vivre and appreciation of things that I normally take for granted – like access to education or healthcare – really hammered home the impact that Cool Earth and OVO’s contribution has had on these communities.”
But why do rainforests matter so much?
Rainforests generate a fifth of the world’s oxygen and an even higher proportion of freshwater. They contain over six million species – that’s the world’s richest ecosystem. And, vitally, they also store a quarter of the world’s carbon.
Right now, deforestation and degradation creates a fifth of global carbon emissions – that’s more than the entire global transport sector. So when you consider all the options, fighting for our rainforests’ survival is the simplest way to fight climate change.
“The forest is my home. If the forest dies because of logging, there will be nothing and people will die.”
Dany Soto, Cutivireni village
Protecting more than trees
Cool Earth’s partner villages also invest funds in range of community projects. By supporting schools, clinics, education and sustainable livelihoods, Cool Earth makes sure forest protection goes hand in hand with better lives. From education to health, the difference to communities and families is huge:
“I am so proud of our new school. We’ve never had a proper building before. The structure would always collapse and the children would lose out on schooling. This building will last and be good for the whole community. Thank you.”
Vanessa Quirigua, Saboroshiari School Teacher
Give yourselves a pat on the back
All this good stuff is down to OVO customers. We protected one acre of rainforest per person for the first 100,000 customers who joined us. More recently, we’ve supported a number of Cool Earth’s community investment projects from improving maternal health, to developing livelihoods through forest produce.