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Rainforest Alliance: Growth without destruction

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Food scarcity is a serious problem in many places around the globe. Thus, the process of clear-cutting forests to make way for agricultural fields has become a survival instinct of sorts.

Does this process really promote survival? Sure, for a few decades these regions may produce the crops needed to sustain human life; but, while this method increases the food supply, it delivers a fatal blow to the “lungs of the earth” - forests.

“Agricultural expansion is responsible for 70 percent of global deforestation, and is the single greatest threat to tropical forests” - Rainforest Alliance

Cliche as it may be, the preservation, or “hugging”, of trees arguably remains the most important concern of the environmental movement. Not only do trees provide oxygen for our use and promote biodiversity, but they also harness carbon. Lingering carbon-based gasses block radiant heat from exiting the earth’s atmosphere, thereby increasing global warming.

In an attempt to solve the food/forest dilemma, the Rainforest Alliance has developed a program to support sustainable agriculture amongst farmers indigenous to forest regions.

“The Rainforest Alliance has a team of experts that supports farmers and producer groups as they implement the Sustainable Agriculture Standard on their farms. We organize training workshops and diagnostic visits and provide training materials such as posters, manuals, videos and an online training platform” - Rainforest Alliance.

The Rainforest Alliance works with farmers to prevent deforestation and other practices which degrade the environment. Thereafter, participating farms become Rainforest Alliance Certified. In order for a farm to receive this seal, it must first meet the rigorous social and environmental standards set by the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN). The Alliance then helps the farms market their now-certified products world-wide. Rainforest Alliance Certified products can be found in the US at Whole Foods Market.

Through Rainforest Alliance’s Adopt-A-Rainforest program, individuals and groups contribute funds to small conservation groups in tropical countries that work to stop rainforest destruction. These donations support the purchase and sustainable management of tropical forest lands. Donors may choose to support a particular project of interest or allow the Alliance to select a site on their behalf which has the greatest need.

For more information on the Rainforest Alliance, visit their website.

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