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What's Up With the Rainforest: Stopping Rainforest Destruction Can Cut World Emissions By 17%

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Around the world rainforests are hurting. The deforestation of vast tracts of these precious lands does more than just ruin local ecosystems. The health and vitality of rainforests help maintain life for everything on the planet. Reason enough for all of us to contribute to ending their destruction and encouraging their growth. This is why, working with The Rainforest Alliance, we helped create The Rainforest and The Rainforest NewsLadder. Every couple of weeks I will check in to see what's buzzing in The Rainforest providing you with the latest news and media surrounding this priority issue.

There was a lot of chatter this week in The Rainforest about the role economics plays in deforestation.

Thomas Friedman, New York Times resident globe trender, recently opined about how we could eliminate 17 percent of all global emissions if we could halt the cutting and burning of tropical forests. In his recent trip down to the Tapajós National Forest in Brazil, Friedman imagined what would happen if you took all the planes, trains, and automobiles out of use. He came to the conclusion that the emission reduction would still be less that if we just stopped cutting down the rainforests. Easier said than done though. How do we get poor, forest-rich nations to stop cutting down trees? Secondly, how do we create markets that reward poor countries for not making the furniture richer countries desire?

Another story gained a lot of attention for the frugality it pinned on Mother Nature. Germany and the European Commission commissioned the 3-year-long study that concluded that protecting the environment and allowing it to regulate life sustaining systems is cheaper than destroying them for profit and trying to concoct man-made solutions to replace them. It's a shame it took 300-pages to come to that conclusion.

How much would it cost for you not to burn that rainforest? That is the question Damian Kahya of the BBC is asking world leaders this week. Answering the question are some of the largest energy companies in the world - BP and American Electric Power. With EU cap and trade already in effect and the US looking for a scheme of its own, companies are looking for a way to keep old polluting habits alive by throwing money at the problem. Deforestation agreements might end up being the only thing agreed upon at Copenhagen.

We came across a really inspiring video about a biologist who used his love for the orangutan to regrow rainforests in Borneo AND provide a stable economy for the native people.

Bottom line is "the bottom line" plays a part in the rainforest conversation. As Willie Smits in Borneo showed us, a sustainable future does not have to come at the costs of a stable economy. What is needed is more thinking and more dialouge. You can get involved immediately by contributing your own ideas into the conversation by visiting The Rainforest or contribute a newsworthy story on The Rainforest NewsLadder.

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