December 31, 2016

New years resolutions
for safe rainforest


Last year Cool Earth almost doubled in size.

That means twice as much rainforest saved.

Twice as many people taking control of their trees.

Twice as much good stuff.

But if you grow that fast you’ll also double up on the not so great things. Twice as many mistakes, false starts and waste.

Everyone at Cool Earth is obsessed with building the best possible rainforest charity. With this in mind, we’ve taken our new year’s resolutions even more seriously.

The best way of keeping resolutions is to tell a friend. So here are our self-improvement promises for 2017. Please hold us to them.

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Generations of knowledge can’t be beaten. One of the best things that Cool Earth can do is to help smart people share this knowledge. If these smart people have cracked problems like sourcing safe water or securing forest and keeping soil fertile, let’s spread their wisdom. So in 2017, there will be exchange trips between our partnerships, from Papua New Guinea to Peru. Plus we will launch our ‘rainforest toolbox’ of solutions to everything that weakens communities and makes the forest vulnerable.

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It’s a horrible truth that the poorest people are the first to suffer the effects of climate change. The impact of more frequent flooding and droughts in all of our partnerships is something you’ve helped to address through emergency appeals. In 2017, we will redouble our efforts to build our communities’ resilience to climate change, with increased crop diversity, drought tolerant seeds, water storage and safely relocated homes.

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We don’t ask much of our partnerships, but do insist on working with something rather than somebody. It’s a much fairer system if money doesn’t go to just one powerful person. That’s why we insist on community associations being set up, which then collectively decide how to spend the cash. In 2017 we will step up the transparency and make sure every transaction is open to everyone in the village.

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And transparency doesn’t stop with our partnerships. We want to make sure our supporters have 100% confidence in Cool Earth as an organisation. We have never shared details with third parties and never will. But we want to be best in class. So we will meet the European General Data Protection Regulations a year early and exceeded the standards set by the new Fundraising Regulator in the UK. If there is more you believe we could be doing, please let us know.

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Sometimes we come across tricky problems that are crying out for a technical solution. We could go off and spend years becoming experts in maternal healthcare or keeping soil fertile. Or we can hook up with smart people at places like the Inga Foundation and One Heart Worldwide who know more about soil improvement and maternal health than we ever will. In 2017, we’ll work with more specialists so that we can deliver the best advice directly to our partners.

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Charities are hopeless at planning endings. Funding so often runs out, promises aren’t kept and things just sort of fizzle out, leaving a village in a worse state than it was before. Cool Earth has always insisted on agreeing to a plan and sticking to it, so by the time our partnerships conclude, we’ve helped to create stronger, self-determining communities. With some partnerships now celebrating their fifth anniversary of working with Cool Earth, 2017 will see more training in profit reinvestment and microcredit than ever before. Sure, it’s dull stuff but still key to making sure the rainforest stays safe and is protected for generations to come.

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Cool Earth is still the only charity that’s solely focused on saving at-risk rainforest by working alongside indigenous villages. So we’ll keep on doing that, and save more rainforest than ever before in 2017.

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