Birmingham International Airport launches endangered Brazilian rainforest project
Birmingham’s Lord Mayor, Rafael Schmitz, Peter Slough (Headteacher), John Morris, Frank Field and Small Heath students at the rainforest project launch
Fri 7 Mar 2008 - The UK’s Birmingham International Airport (BIA) has invested £20,000 ($40,000) to protect nearly 200 acres (80ha) of endangered rainforest in Brazil, locking up nearly 50,000 tonnes of CO2 – the equivalent used by the airport’s buildings over two years. The sponsorship also includes purchasing classroom equipment, solar-powered internet and a boat for a local school.
BIA has teamed up with Cool Earth, a charity co-founded by the Rt. Hon. Frank Field MP that protects endangered rainforest from deforestation, something that accounts for more than 18% of the world’s emissions, a share greater than that produced by the entire transport sector, points out the airport.
“Through our charity, sponsors can secure land that would otherwise be sold to loggers and ranchers,” says Field. “We put donations into a local trust, and protect the forests around the clock to keep the carbon where it belongs, ensuring that rainforest communities take the lead in conservation and get the full benefit of better incomes and security that standing forest provides. Sponsorship also helps to fund community health and education services.”
The area under protection is in Democracia, which lies on the northerly bank of the Rio Madeira, or “Wood River”, and is right at the frontier of destruction, says the airport. Loggers began cutting timber here in 2005 but since Cool Earth secured the forest, the area will be protected for at least the next 25 years. The mature forest is immensely important to the local community, which relies on harvesting produce from it for income and they now have free access to 30,000 acres (12,000ha).
The area under protection is also expected to save 4,000 mature trees, over 17,000 saplings, 16 endangered animals, 322 types of plant and over 11,000 species of insect and worm.
The airport and Cool Earth have been working with Small Heath School & Sixth Form College in Birmingham to build the initiative into the school’s curriculum. The initiative was launched at the school and was attended by the city’s Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, along with local Brazilian-born soccer star Rafael Schmitz. It has received the praise of HRH The Prince of Wales, who has recently announced the creation of his own rainforest project.
BIA’s Head of Corporate and Community Affairs, John Morris, said: “Overall, aviation contributes 2% of the world’s CO2; however, it’s committed to finding ways to mitigate its operations. Birmingham Airport is totally dedicated to this and this launch is one of the many ways we are acting on reducing our global impacts whilst helping communities. We’re proud of this joint partnership and hope it continues to grow from strength to strength.”