October 25, 2013 § Leave a Comment
If you have not already heard this week is ‘I Love Amazon Week’, the focus of a new campaign brought to you buy the good people at WWF and SKY Rainforest Rescue! As you can imagine this is our kind of week here at Bloomtrigger HQ. I mean we like a lot of weeks of the year, design week, chocolate week, the week before Christmas, (not so much fashion week), last week, but ‘I Love Amazon Week’ has a special place in our hearts! Why? What’s so special about this week you may ask? Well most of us know how Amazon is a great website where you can buy pretty much anything… Sorry too obvious! Well here are some things you can’t buy on Amazon (the website), but you can find in THE AMAZON (aka. the world’s largest rainforest).
Things you can find in the Amazon worth protecting!
1. Lots and lots of priceless biodiversity: 10% of the world’s known species live in the Amazon. In fact this week we have learned that at least 441 new species of animals and plants have been discovered in the last 4 years, including a flame-patterned lizard, a thumb-nail sized frog, a vegetarian piranha and a monkey that purrs like a cat.
2. Loads of trees: Did you know 1 billion trees is approximately the size of Belgium and the Amazon rainforest is 180 times the size of Belgium. If our maths is correct that’s 180 billion trees, give or take a few! Think how much carbon must be sequestered in those trees instead of being released into our atmosphere and heating up the planet! If there are any clever people out there reading this, then you are welcome to try calculating this for us?
3. Health: 70% of plants with anti-cancer properties are found only in the rainforests. Say no more!
4. Ancient knowledge and culture too: The Amazon is home to approximately 1 million indigenous people, many of whom possess ancient knowledge and wisdom about plants and animals that has accumulated over thousands of years and has been passed down through the generations. Wisdom that may be helpful to us, like which plants help treat cancer for example?!
5. Nuts: Many of the nuts that you will find in a bag of mixed nuts can be found in the Amazon, Brazil nuts, Cashew nuts, just to name a couple of the more tasty ones!
6. Rain: As the Amazon is one of the biggest ecosystems in the world it plays a vital role providing us with essential environmental services, such as regulating our climate and water cycles. In an over populated world where global agriculture is constantly having to invent new ways to meet the challenges of feeding everyone, it really is better if we don’t mess too much with the fundamentals of our planet’s life system.
7. Beauty: The Amazon is an incredibly beautiful place and like all natural, beautiful places on our planet where nature enriches our being, it is something sacred and worth protecting!
OK, so that is seven things and it would be fun to go on writing this list all day, but the point is that you can find lots of amazing, valuable, important, clever, pretty things in the Amazon and this is why we LOVE it and why all of us should do whatever we can to help protect it.
So what can you do to be a part of ‘I Love Amazon Week’?
1. You can take the pledge to be forest friendly and share it through social media. Just go to Sky Rainforest Rescue!
2. Use the Hashtag #lovetheamazon whenever, wherever!
3. Learn more about the Amazon and this campaign.
4. Take an image of you making the heart sign with your hands and upload it to your Facebook profile. See image of Dave below as an example. Dave went along to represent Bloomtrigger at the launch event for ‘I Love Amazon Week” and they snapped him declaring his love for the rainforest.
5. Donate! Donating some money to this campaign or to Bloomtrigger is going to support the sustainable development of forestry communities to help them protect their forests.
AND if you’re still not sure about getting involved, then let Bloomtrigger’s very own Dave convince you why in the video below!
More about ‘I Love Amazon Week’!
I Love Amazon Week is a celebration of the world’s largest rainforest and a call to action to the UK public to pledge to be forest-friendly. Through Sky Rainforest Rescue over 5,000 people in Acre, Brazil have committed not to slash and burn their land, helping to save one billion trees from deforestation. For I Love Amazon Week, Sky and WWF are asking 5,000 people in the UK to match that commitment by pledging to be forest-friendly and making everyday changes that can make a real difference. They’ll be taking this to the Acre Government to show that together we can make a difference for the Amazon.
September 23, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Last week we launched the Bloomtrigger project in Escola Bilusco in Curitiba, Brazil. The pupils took part in a three-day workshop called ‘The Arara Workshop’ which was developed and implemented in partnership with a Brazilian organisation called Quíron. (Quíron is a social enterprise that aims to transform the way education is taught in Brazil). Over three mornings the pupils learnt about the forests, deforestation, climate change, sustainability and of course the Bloomtrigger project, while completing various activities, which ultimately resulted in them all helping to protect their own part of the Amazon rainforest. This was the first time a Bloomtrigger workshop has been taught in Portuguese and was developed especially for Brazilian children. The pupils at Escola Bilusco were great fun to teach and we are very proud to have them help pioneer our project in Brazil.
Here is an outline of what happened during the Arara Workshop!
Part 1. Introduction to rainforests, global deforestation, rainforest animals and the Bloomtrigger project
Part 2. Painting Bloomtrigger profile images
Part 1. A more in depth talk about deforestation, Brazilian forests, climate change, the greenhouse effect and sustainability
Part 2. Voting for the best pupil profile images, followed by a computer session planting bloomson the Bloomtrigger map
Part 1. Pupil’s vote how to invest R$1,000 that they received for being the first school in Brazil to participate in the project (ref. Catarse project)
Part 2. Record video message to English school
We are now busy editing a short video that will show how the project developed over the three days. We will be posting this shortly. It is then our intention to present our project to other schools in Brazil and to grow our network of Brazilian Bloomtrigger pioneers.
July 25, 2013 § Leave a Comment
We are proud to report that the Bloomtrigger project was one of the winners of the Future Impact Award 2013. On the 10th July Bloomtrigger’s founder James Sutton was invited to present a 3 minute pitch as one of the five finalists selected from over 50 applicants from around the world. The competition took place at Partnering for Global Impact conference in Lugano, Switzerland in front of an audience of social innovators and impact investors. Bloomtrigger was the first project to be presented, followed by three other finalists (unfortunately one of the finalists from Africa had visa issues and was unable to make it). The final stage was a quick fire question and answer session from the panel of judges, who finally disappeared for fifteen minutes to decide on the winners.
The judges awarded Bloomtrigger second place with a prize of 7,500 CHF. First place was awarded to a social enterprise called Pragulic, which employs homeless people in Prague to give guided tours of the city.
All in all there was an excellent response to all of the finalists, who each had very different, but strong ideas for their social businesses. Following the competition there was a lot of interest in the Bloomtrigger project from people at the event looking for new solutions to global deforestation, climate change and environmental education. Our hope is to translate this interest into investment that can scale up Bloomtrigger’s impact with forestry communities and schools in Brazil and around the world.
Below you can see the 3 minute pitch about Bloomtrigger. Click the full screen icon in the bottom right corner for the full effect!
May 24, 2013 § 2 Comments
Some could say that when it comes to forest conservation, Miranda Gibson has had her head in the clouds – literally. The qualified high school teacher spent a record-breaking 15 months living on a platform built into a tree 60 metres above the ground in the forests of southern Tasmania.
Hailed as a “hero of the forests” by former Greens leader Bob Brown, Miranda staged the tree sit-in to protest the logging of Tasmanian forests. Although a nearby bush fire forced Miranda to leave the tree (which she named the Observer Tree) on March 7 2013, her determination to continue campaigning for the forests is far from gone.
By Lydia Hales.
Q. Your blog piece on what it was like for you to come down from the Observer Tree after such a long time was quite emotional. How are you adjusting to life back on the ground?
A. It’s been a lot to adjust to, getting used to life on the ground again. The hardest thing has been the separation from the tree and the forest, which I miss every day. But there has also been great things about being on the ground, being able to regroup with other conservationists and plan ways forward together. Now that we have the Tasmanian Forest Agreement in place, which effectively locks in ongoing native forest destruction, it’s more important than ever to keep up the fight for the forests. It is hard knowing that I had to get out of the tree before I was ready to, but I also know that there is so much I can do on the ground to keep the momentum of the campaign going.
Q. Do you know at this stage if any plans to return to the tree will go ahead?
A. At this stage, I don’t plan to go back up the tree. The area where the tree is has been nominated for World Heritage and I hope that next month, in June, when the committee meet, it will be officially included in Tasmania’s World Heritage Area. Of course, there are a lot of areas of high conservation value that will not be included and so I will continue the campaign for those forests across the state that remain under threat.
Q. A couple of articles mentioned your “isolation and solitude” as being the hardest things about your record-breaking time in the tree. Do you feel that during this time you learnt a lot about yourself, and how we as humans can connect with nature?
A. The time in the tree was undoubtedly challenging due to the isolation, but on the flip-side to that, the solitude was a remarkable experience and I feel that I learnt a lot about myself and about the forest. I developed a really close connection to that area of forest and to my tree in particular. It taught me that humans can definitely connect with the natural world in profound ways. I guess the tree became like a best friend to me and it will always have a special place in my heart.
Q. Whenever you were struggling, what did you think of to keep your spirits up and keep you motivated?
A. I was always uplifted by the forest. Whenever I started to find it challenging, I would just have to look out across the forest that I was there to defend, and I would find the strength to keep going. There were constantly special moments, such as amazing and beautiful birds and owls coming to visit me, which would lift my spirits. I also found a lot of strength from the solidarity that came from people all around the world. My inbox was filled daily with support and encouragement from people from all walks of life, and that played a major part in what kept me motivated. I guess I could also see how effective my action was, the impact it had internationally in spreading the word about these forests.
Q. What do you think has been the best thing to come from your campaign?
A. One major success of the campaign has been the growing awareness around the world about Tasmania’s forest. This has had an impact in several ways. It added to the pressure on the Australian Government, to ensure that the forests were nominated for World Heritage, which happened on February 1st this year. It has also had a direct impact on companies like Ta Ann, who are selling wood from Tasmania’s high conservation value forests and labeling it as “eco-ply.” It is through exposing the truth to customers around the world that pressure was brought to bear on the company for these practices. Ta Ann are still continuing to sell this timber, as well as timber sourced from environmental destruction and human rights violations in Sarawak, however with the campaign against them continuing to gain international momentum, I believe we can bring an end to the destructive practices of this company.
Q. Were there any things that have come from this which you didn’t expect?
A. The personal experience was something that I had not really thought about or expected. When I went up the tree, I was thinking about it as a tool to expose the truth about the forest destruction. I didn’t really stop to think about the impact it would have on me personally, to stay in the tree tops for such a long period of time. But it was really an amazing and unique experience, I learnt so much about the patterns of the forests day to day, and so much about myself.
Q. You’re not originally from Tasmania, yet have done so much in terms of campaigning for Tasmanian forests…what first drew you to this cause?
A. I first came to Tasmania almost 10 years ago. And one of the first things I did was go out to the forests. I remember how awe-struck I was at seeing the giant trees towering above, the lush green rainforest under-storey – it was like nothing I had ever seen before. And then seeing a clear fell for the first time, realizing the absolute devastation that occurs to these forests. This is when I knew I wanted to do something to ensure that these forests survived for future generations,.
Q. Can you share your favorite memory from your time spent in the tree?
A. I have so many memories of my time in the tree that will stay with me forever. One thing that was really amazing for me was the first snowfall up there. I remember how excited I was to be in the snow, 60 meters above the ground, watching the forest turn slowly from green to white. There were many more snowfalls to come, of course, and I was amazed by the beauty of the forest in snow every time.
Another special memory is when a goshawk came into my tree, flew right towards me so that it was only a meter or two from my face, and then flew away. They are spectacular birds and it was a really unique experience to be face to face with one, in the upper canopy.
You can read more of Miranda’s story and keep updated with her work through her Observer Tree blog.
May 23, 2013 § Leave a Comment
This is a presentation (with text added) given by Bloomtrigger’s founder James Sutton to the children at Townfield Primary School at a morning assembly on Wednesday 1st May 2013. It begins with a little background story about how the project began and how it is now growing to involve a network of diverse people from all over the world who are working together to help pioneer a new model of environmental education which helps to tackle global deforestation and climate change.