Racing across India for the rainforest (and my birthday!)

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Ever susceptible to peer pressure and a debilitating case of FOMO, I have agreed to drive 2700km across India in a 7 horsepower glorified lawnmower this April for charity -- truly, "the best and least sensible thing to do with two weeks", as advertised!

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I find birthday attention incredibly awkward, so I generally flee the country to avoid it. I'm taking it to an extreme this year, driving across India for charity. And given I am a sustainable-investing, nature-loving, Western Canadian hippie whose life goals include buying a microhome and moving to the woods, it makes a lot of sense to fundraise for Cool Earth.

Cool Earth partners with villages at the front lines of deforestation where the risk is most imminent. Poor villages are often approached with logging contracts that offer them a fraction of what the trees are actually worth. These communities can turn to Cool Earth for help, who provides the local people with the support they need to get income from the forest without cutting it down so that the forest is worth more intact.

Cool Earth fund raises the money to match the logging contracts, and gives that money for stewardship by the community with a half-now-half-later model. The money is put into a community association fund, and used to invest in education, health and businesses. Cool Earth recognizes that indigenous people are the most effective custodians of the rainforest. By boosting incomes, and improving schools and clinics, the local people can withstand current and future offers from illegal loggers because they have sustainable livelihoods and more choices.

Long story short -- the rainforest stays standing, local people are empowered, and lives are improved -- all for a very light touch and cost effective intervention. Cool Earth's track record shows that incomes rise 70%, loss of canopy cover over five years drops from 29% to 3%, and an acre of rainforest is protected for just $115. William MacGaskill gave a ringing endorsement in his book, 'Giving What You Can', that "the easiest and most effective way to cut down your carbon footprint is to donate to Cool Earth."

So if you want to help protect the rainforest and strengthen indigenous Peruvian villages, please support this crazy adventure of mine (and send me a little birthday love!) by donating.

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