Reneé and Pete have known and followed Sophia since birth. She shared the Ecuadorian coast with them and, due to inadequate schooling options attended a school set up, in large part, by her mother. It is easy to remember how freely she lived in those days and what an incredibly ‘worldly’ education she received. She was always a sponge, soaking up knowledge and wisdom. Recently she graduated from Harvard University.
Sophia joined us on our 2016 Pantanal trip in Brazil and wowed us all with a talk on her Forest Fund initiative that she started. As per our Focus Expeditions policy, we donated US$100 per passenger which was more than matched by all trip participants. We feel proud to give something back to such a worthy cause.
Forest Fund is an online platform born in a Harvard dorm room that makes conservation direct, transparent, and accessible to everyone. Our conservation targets privately owned areas in the Brazilian Amazon.
So far, most conservation efforts have focused on working with indigenous communities, protected areas, and forest management. We want to work with private owners to conserve and restore private forests. To put this in perspective: there are 325 million hectares of standing forest in Brazil. 125 million ha are on public lands; 50 million ha are on conservation units; 50 million ha on indigenous lands; and 100 million are on private lands. That’s 30% of the Brazilian Amazon for which conservation efforts are falling short.
We are living in a time where what we want to do is finally possible: all rural properties in Brazil are being demarcated, georeferenced, and registered legally; satellite imaging has improved in quality and is updated regularly; and internet technologies and social media allow us to connect people across the globe in an unprecedented way. We will know who owns each hectare, its state of deforestation, and have the ability to share this information widely.
Our solutions are direct. We are here, in field, understanding local economic realities. This allows us to formulate and pioneer efficient and fair conservation strategies.
Our solutions are transparent. Everything we do is documented in close to real time.
Our solutions are accessible to everyone. We work directly with donors and landowners on our crowdfunding platform. Both stakeholders will mold every new solution we pilot. The pilots that work, we scale.
We have all played our part in driving the destruction of our planet’s forests, now it’s time to break formation.
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