A PNG special: 10 stories in March you won’t want to miss

A deep dive into Cool Earth’s 10 years working with people in Papua New Guinea.


If you want to see rainforest protected, go to the people who call it home. This is the idea behind Cool Earth and the reason that our first-ever partnership was with the Asháninka nation in Peru. More than anyone, they keep the Western Amazon intact.

Branching out

Exactly ten years ago we launched Cool Earth’s second partnership, this time in Papua New Guinea (PNG). This may have seemed an unexpected move. After all, another Amazonian partnership would have been much easier. The Amazon has been topping the priority list since the 1970s, we had strong networks and there is clearly no shortage of forest to protect in that part of the world.

Cool Earth Director, Matthew Owen, best sums up why forests in Papua New Guinea became as important as the ones in Peru for us and our supporters.

We were asked. Two years before, we had been contacted by communities in Milne Bay who saw advancing palm plantations from the east. They were intent on protecting their forest and the millions of hectares that lay beyond it.” – Matthew Owen.

A decade on

In Gadaisu, Papua New Guinea (PNG), brightly coloured, blue, orange, yellow and white sail boats race out over a blue sea towards a reef break. White clouds hang overhead and rainforest can be seen in the distance.

The 2013 sailing regatta, Gadaisu, PNG.

After many conversations, a canoe regatta launched a partnership that has taught us so much. Whether it has been providing drinking water to 3,000 people, building brand new flood-proof classrooms, launching adult literacy and life skills programmes and developing sustainable businesses, or releasing no-strings cash payments to individuals, families and entire villages to soften the Covid-19 shock.

Aerial view of Gadaisu Village, PNG. Dense rainforest wraps around the village before it meets the sea.

The village of Gadaisu lies between the forest and the ocean in Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea.

These are only a few of the amazing stories and collaborations we’ve been privileged to be part of over the years. But fear not, as we bring a series of PNG-focused articles you won’t want to miss to celebrate 10 years in one of the most culturally and biologically diverse places on Earth.

Here’s what to look out for:

🚺 International Women’s Day, focusing on the importance of women working in conservation and forest land use decision-making.

🌺 Dive into Papua New Guinea’s rich biodiversity, on World Wildlife Day and later in the month we’ll learn how Papua New Guinean biologists are revolutionising science and the way it’s done.

🌴 International Day of Forests, We’ll be hearing from Dr Chris Dahl about the use of tech to protect rainforest.

💵 Talking Cash, you know we’re all about cash, we discuss with Moses Kerry founder and director of Mauberema Ecotourism Nature Conservation why climate funding needs a big reboot so that it supports change-makers on the ground.

And so much more, stay tuned.