Your congregation can save global forests
Is your faith community looking for a meaningful way to reach out to developing nations? Do you want to honor a loved one by giving a gift of life? Interfaith Power and Light’s Carbon Covenant program helps communities in the Global South work to reverse deforestation and build sustainable livelihoods. Hundreds of individuals have pitched in, donating from $5 to $1,500, but organizations can have an even greater impact. With your help, Carbon Covenant has paid out tens of thousands of dollars to the following programs. Choose from the following and make your own Carbon Covenant. Please contact our office directly to make to donate to one of these worthwhile efforts by calling (510) 444-4891, or inquire by sending an email to [email protected].
SAVE THE MONKS’ COMMUNITY FOREST IN CAMBODIA
- Reducing illegal logging in the protected Monks’ Community Forest
- Helping ensure poor village communities benefit from the sacred forest
- Inspiring others to conserve trees, the sacred “symbol of life”, through their hands-on work
[expand title=Learn More About the Monks Community Forest Project]Deforestation is responsible for 20% of the global emissions that are contributing to climate change. But it’s also taking a grave toll on the communities living in or near these forest communities. In the far northwest of Cambodia, near the Thai border, a group of Buddhist monks are confronted with illegal logging that has been destroying the regional forest that is essential to the survival of local communites.
In response to this, in 2002, Venerable Bun Saluth, head of Samrong Pagoda in Oddar Meanchay Province, established protections for an 18,261 hectare area now called the Monks Community Forest (MCF). Venerable Saluth felt it his personal mission to conserve this Cambodian forest, based on Buddhist principles of respect for nature and for all life. “The tree is a symbol of life, and sacred to Buddhists: Buddha was born under the tree, attained enlightenment under the tree, and died under the tree,” he explains. The monks say they wish to conserve this area as Cambodia’s living heritage, and to ensure that poor communities living near the MCF benefit from the forest for years to come.
These Samrong monks are setting a powerful example for the 90% of Cambodians who are Buddhist. In this region, the pagoda functions as the town’s community and spiritual center. Villagers living close to the MCF have stepped forward to help patrol the forest and support of the monks’ conservation efforts. These daily forest patrols, in addition to tree ordination ceremonies, have substantially curtailed illegal activities in the majority of the MCF. Locals assert that the MCF is the best part of what remains of the local forest. The current level of protection would not be possible, they say, if the monks were not at the helm of conservation efforts.
STOP DESERTIFICATION IN CAMEROON
- Planting more than 100,000 trees in 10 regions of Cameroon.
- Ensuring water catchments in communities are protected and improved.
- Raising environmental awareness about tree planting with local Presbyterian churches
[expand title=Learn More About Stopping Desertification in Camaroon]Cameroon is already suffering from the impacts of climate change. Water supplies are drying up, the dry season is longer and hotter and is followed by more floods and longer rains. Already poor communities are now faced with higher prices for food and water due to shortages and are simply unable to make ends meet.
In response, the Presbyterian Church wants to plant 100,000 trees over three years in all the 10 regions of Cameroon. The three-year project will aim to plant 100,000 trees in different communities in Cameroon and ensure water catchments in communities are protected and developed.
This is an interfaith project. The church will work to raise environmental awareness about tree planting not only within local Presbyterian churches but also with the local Roman Catholic Church, Protestant Mission and Muslim communities. It will work through young people in Presbyterian colleges and government schools to form clubs to plants trees and mobilize PCC movements – the Christian Youth Fellowship, the Christian Women Fellowship and the Christian Men Fellowship – to plant trees in identified communities nationwide as volunteers. It will organize training workshops, work through the media and provide tree seedlings to be planted by volunteers in collaboration with the Ministries of Forestry, Environment, Agriculture and Research.[/expand]
RESTORE DEFORESTED LANDS IN GHANA
- Educating and creating awareness on the need to conserve the forest resources at least among 60% of the project communities
- Introducing alternative livelihood schemes to 60% of unemployed youth and women
- Encouraging the adaptation of energy conservation practices in heating to 60% of women
[expand title=Learn More About Restoring Deforested Lands in Ghana]Deforestation is responsible for 20% of the global emissions that are contributing to climate change. But it’s also taking a grave toll on the communities living in or near these forest communities.The forests of Ghana are disappearing, leading to the loss of biodiversity and fertile soils. Rainfalls are more erratic, streams are drying up and poverty is deepening throughout the region.
This project is introducing alternative livelihood programs to unemployed youth and women; establishing woodlots of about 10 acres each in every project community; reducing bushfires by 50%; and regenerating 30% of the forest cover in degraded areas and generally promoting awareness and education about the need to conserve forest resources.
The Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Ghana has identified numerous partners for this project. The church has plans to collaborate with Specialists from Ghana Wildlife Division (GWD), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Forest Services Division (FSD), Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), and Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) at Regional and District levels.
This project will be implemented by the church’s agricultural stations in the selected project areas. These agricultural stations are managed by program officers and other technical staff that also include WID (Women in Development) Officers. Two of the project communities are situated in Northern Ghana, where poverty is endemic and 70% of the population is classified as poor.
This innovative project not only restores forests but also improves the livelihoods of the local people. It includes plans for skills training in various sustainable livelihoods: snail farming, bee keeping, mushroom farming, and grasscutter rearing. Communities will also be surveyed to identify other possible livelihood training needs.
In addition, business skills will be taught. The National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) will hold a two-day entrepreneurial workshop on marketing, accounting, records and book keeping, and training on micro credit and sourcing for funds will be organized for beneficiaries.
This project will transform degraded forestlands while improving the local economy and the community’s quality of life. [/expand]
PLANT TREES ON KILIMANJARO
- Planting 3,000,000 Trees on Kilimanjaro
- Establishing 30 tree nurseries, distribute seedlings and plant nearly 3 million trees to reforest open spaces and water sources and restock wildlife
- Providing education on the environment and conservation
- Promoting integrated environmental approaches, such as organic farming and strategies to reduce pesticides and chemical fertilizers
[expand title=Learn More About Planting Trees on Kilimanjaro]Mount Kilimanjaro in Northeastern Tanzania has three distinct volcanic cones. The highest – called Kibo – is 5,895 meters high and covered by snow. However, the snowcap is rapidly disappearing. In March 2005, the peak was almost bare for the first time in 11,000 years. According to NASA, the most recent ice cap volume has dropped by 80%. This will have grave consequences for the local population who depend on water from the ice fields during the dry seasons and monsoon failures.
Additionally, deforestation and poor land management have accelerated soil erosion on farming lands. Streams are muddy with tons of vital topsoil that is being washed away. Increased flooding is destroying crops and causing food shortages.
The local church is working to encourage intensive tree planting and education on farming methods to conserve the environment and ensure sufficient food production. For example, young people attending confirmation classes have to plant 10 trees before they are confirmed. Women in parishes are leading the campaign for tree planting around churches and schools.
This project addresses one of the world’s most visible symbols of global warming – Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, and its melting glaciers. What’s less well known is the impact of the melting snows on the people who live on its slopes, and their ambitious and detailed plans to remedy the situation while fighting global climate change.
It’s also special in its comprehensive scope and vision: the three-year project to plant millions of trees will work through the 152 parishes scattered on the slopes of the mountain. It will be implemented in co-operation with Kilimanjaro Regional Forest and Agriculture officers and local government leaders.
These organizations are helping Interfaith Power and Light connect congregations and individuals in the United States with international faith communities on the front lines of climate change through Carbon Covenant.
Alliance for Religions and Conservation
Founded in 1995 by HRH Prince Philip, ARC is a secular body that helps the major religions of the world to develop their own environmental programs, based on their own core teachings, beliefs and practices. The organization creates powerful alliances between faith communities and conservation groups.
Founded in 1992, GreenFaith seeks to inspire, educate and mobilize people of diverse spiritual backgrounds to rediscover their relationship with the sacred in nature and to restore the earth for future generations.
United Religions Initiative
Founded in 2000, URI includes thousands of members in over 65 countries representing more than 100 religions, spiritual expressions, and indigenous traditions. Members from diverse backgrounds pioneer interfaith dialogue and peacebuilding skills. Its core organizational principles include inclusive membership, self-organizing initiatives and decentralized governance.