Updated: Aug 27, 2022
You never know where a few clicks on the internet can take you...
Ultimately, it lead us to Ghana and a huge project in making.
It was summer 2020 when weMORI was preparing for a fundraising Kickstarter campaign coupled with a series of online events and live talk shows. I was in charge of all that involved making those shows happen, including finding active and inspiring individuals doing work related to climate change or environmental protection. The labyrinth of the net somehow lead me to Chibeze ‘Chi’ Ezekiel, the founder of Strategic Youth Network for Development (SYND) and recipient of the 2020 Goldman Environmental Prize. He gracefully agreed to join us for an interview "The role of young people in the fight against climate change: gains, challenges and lessons of a Ghanaian activist" - you can check the recording here.
We kept loosely in touch with Chi with an intention to potentially, one day, co-create a project together.
“What are some targets in terms of reforesting degraded areas in Ghana?” Ian asked Chi one day. It turns out there are many sites that used to be mines but are now abandoned and barren. What an opportunity!
However, where we were at the time was when launching and promoting the app were the highest priorities and there were no resources to be channeled into anything else, let alone a whole new project.
Time went by... and Ghana remained at the back of Ian's head...
A year ago a lot of research happened around NFTs (which we talked about in the recent weLOG) and carbon credits. NFTs brought us to EcoMint, an organization we're closely collaborating with right now!
Ian and Ben (the founder of Ecomint) clicked right from the first call. It turned out that the org was looking for reforestation projects and Ian immediately knew who to connect - Chi!
So what does EcoMint do? They have a simple model which goes like this:
- fundraising through sales of NFTs
- the funds are channeled to reforestation
- that, in turn, creates carbon credits, which are then sold
- the generated profit goes back to the person who bought NFTs in the first place
Fast forward a few months and viola! We have a running reforestation project co-created by weMORI, SYND, and EcoMint! Thanks to a massive commitment and passionate team of SYND, the research required and appropriate land was found and what’s very exciting is that it’s an area of approx. 200ha (that’s twice the size of the Meiji Shrine area!).
The story continues, like every story, in truth, doesn't have an end, despite us looking for those happy endings. Just like the life of the earth, even degraded and abandoned, its story doesn’t culminate, it keeps evolving.
How this story unfolds? We’ll see.
And you’ll be the first to know.
As you know, we have some passionate students on our volunteer team. This teaMORI spotlight invites you to dive into the world of inspiration and aspiration of Erika and Swetha. Thank you both so much for the amazing work you do with us. We appreciate you and your love for the earth, as well as the commitment to study its processes in depth.
You're currently a student of environmental biology (Erika) and environmental science (Swetha) - can you shine some light on what the discipline is exactly and what inspired you to take this path?
Erika: “Environmental biology is a study of biodiversity and how the organisms have evolved while adapting to their surrounding environment. We also study how energy and nutrients are cycled through an ecosystem and some environmental issues. I chose this path because I loved biology class in high school and enjoyed watching nature documentaries. Although I wanted to study animal behavior at first, and I still love it, now I am also interested in energy and nutrient cycles in ecosystems and the conservation of ecosystems.”
Swetha: “Being concerned over environmental issues I wished to contribute to solving them and thus choose environmental science studies as the first step to reach the goal. In general, environmental science incorporates addressing environmental conservation from the scientific aspect, to manage deteriorated natural elements, prevent further stress on the environment, and likewise. But the program I have enrolled in is liberal with the course for the first 2 years and I am enjoying exploring diverse fields and trying to view them through an environmental lens.”
How has your experience on the research team been and what is something that you learned?
Swetha: “Working with the research team is awesome. We research forest conservation, restoration, and related organizations across the globe, interact with them, exchange our interests and activities and look for potential possibilities for partnership. Based on the information from them we are creating a portfolio of partner organizations. We also get to know about the dynamics of the country and surroundings, and I am simply surprised by the number of similarities and differences among them. Apart from interacting with other organizations, calls with the research team to share ideas, progress, knowledge is fun. I am enjoying my time here in weMORI by being on the research team.
While learning about deforestation in different countries is depressing on one hand, interacting with people on the ground who strive to prevent and protect it, is hopeful. I am realizing that there are a lot of people who care about forests and are working towards it but sadly we barely notice them. I hope that their work is acknowledged. Happy about the balance between learning technical stuff in university and on-ground activities through weMORI."
AROUND THE WORLD 🌏
CHILE REDUCES ITS FOSSIL FUEL DEPENDENCY
Like many other nations, Chile seeks to reduce its use of fossil fuels in an effort to achieve its environmental goals. The country is getting closer to its goal of zero emissions through the production of electric buses by Reborn Electric Motor.
Reborn Electric Motors aims to produce 200 electric buses a year which is estimated to keep approximately 65,000 tons of carbon out of the atmosphere, that would’ve been otherwise emitted by fuel-powered buses. This company builds electric buses from scratch but can also convert existing diesel buses in a process said to be “both sustainable and economical”. Through this company, Chile can help to reduce carbon emissions bus-by-bus. This is a step in the right direction for Chile and the impact on the environment could be astronomical.
THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT The monarch butterfly has been classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). What’s all this fuss about butterflies? Should we care? Is it worth the effort? The short answer is “Yes, absolutely”. Butterflies may seem like a mere tiny dot in the grand scheme of things but their extinction would have a rippling effect on the environment and ecosystems.
The possible extinction of these migratory monarch butterflies is a situation that merits our attention and conservation measures should be implemented to stop this from happening. Their numbers have been decreasing rapidly since the 1980s and without active and deliberate intervention they will become extinct. Climate change and habitat loss are among some of the contributing factors to the looming extinction of monarch butterflies; at this rate, the extinction forecast is within the next 60 years. However, it is not too late to take action.
WHAT WE'RE READING
Carbon Market Watch analysis reveals lack of creditability in FIFA World Cup’s ‘carbon neutrality’ claims Read here
Ottawa proposes to cap oil, and gas emissions using an industry-specific carbon pricing system Read here
The newly proposed deforestation prevention project is claimed to be misleading Read here
European Ministers weaken Emission Trade System Read here
Demand for ipê wood coincides with deforestation hubs in Brazil Read here
The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) demanded urgent action to stop attacks against Indigenous peoples, environmentalists, and communities Read here
There you have it, dear friends.
Thank you for supporting us along the way, it's thanks to you that we continue having stories to tell.
Are you ready for the next one? :D
See you next month!