Mother Nature is showing her wear and tear. Climate change, pollution, deforestation, endangered species and poverty are getting worse by the day and they impact the sustainability of life as we know it.
Fortunately, a massive conservation plan in East Africa is ready to make a lasting impact on all of these issues at once. The model is replicable and scalable for countries and communities around the world. The key is to get as many trees in the ground as possible—as soon as possible.
The program, Sacred Seedlings, aims to fight climate change, wildlife poaching, loss of wildlife habitat, and poverty around the world. Under the guidance of local NGOs and government, five massive projects are ready to begin immediately in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
In honor of the first ever World Wildlife Day, Crossbow Communications announced that it will donate all new client revenue in 2014 to help fund this plan to save the vanishing ecosystems of East Africa. Crossbow, a global public affairs company, hopes that it’s commitment will attract new clients from around the world, especially those devoted to sustainability and wildlife conservation. Crossbow also is contacting foundations and corporate sponsors to help fund the sustainability projects.
“I’m not aware of any other company in the world that is donating all profits to wildlife and forest conservation,” said Gary Chandler, founder of Crossbow and cofounder of Sacred Seedlings. “We challenge other companies to join us as clients or donors and we will shine a very bright light on those leaders to maximize their return on investment.”
Several NGOs in Kenya and Tanzania have developed the conservation and reforestation plans, which also include sustainable agriculture, community education and engagement and more. The NGOs approached Chandler, a renowned wildlife conservationist and author, in search of solutions to the wildlife poaching crisis in East Africa, where elephants, rhinos and other species could be pushed into extinction within 10 years by poachers. The cornerstone of the effort is a massive reforestation program that will plant more than 100 million trees. These trees will absorb massive amounts of carbon from the atmosphere, which can help us mitigate the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which contribute to climate change and extreme weather around the world. The reforestation effort also will help preserve biodiversity and habitat for wildlife.
The reforestation will help create hundreds of jobs, which will take away some of the economic imperative that drives wildlife poaching and the multi-billion dollar illegal wildlife trafficking industry. Last year, more than 35,000 elephants and more than 1,000 rhinos were killed by poachers across Africa. Unfortunately, poachers aren’t the only threat to the survival of many endangered species. Drought and loss of habitat also could push them into extinction.
“We’ve had the Sacred Seedlings model in development for about four years,” Chandler said. “When our new partners in Africa contacted us for help, they eagerly embraced the business model as one that could save the vanishing wildlife, ecosystems and cultures of the region. Now, the interest from stakeholders is snowballing around the world. It’s time to get them funded to maximize the impact of the opportunity, so we’re putting our money where our heart is–the future.”
Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support.
Chandler hopes to raise more than one million dollars for the effort from his company’s donations. That will fund the Kilimanjaro project, but four other programs will require a greater investment. He hopes that other corporate leaders will sponsor much of the program, while foundations also are expected to play a leading role.