My Vision for the New Earth by Ra Huti Heh

Earth 400x400 My Vision for the New Earth by Ra Huti Heh

My gratitude to Coursera for this climate change course because it has enabled me to develop this low to zero carbon economy that I’ve envisioned for over 9 years now…but first let’s start with the way this “new Earth” will operate.

As humans our destiny is to live on our Earth in harmony with all of nature, to recognize the interconnectivity of all eco-systems and the fact that we are part of it all and that our true purpose for being here is to care for Earth and ALL life upon her.

Divine law or universal/natural law is recognizing our responsibility to the Earth and ALL life dependent upon it. It makes us to “see” what we’ve done these past few hundred years, how we’ve exploited our Earth’s finite resources, e.g. carbon = ancient sunlight, spewed it back out to her atmosphere (aura) without a thought of giving back or restoring and in the process are destroying the natural environment. Oh, the suffering we’ve caused the other life forms that share this planet with us and who aren’t responsible. As we recognize our place we see how we can restore the balance via connectivity, we have separated ourselves from the nature. One of the best ways is via biological corridors, restoring forests between isolated forests so animals and plants can migrate to increase their habitat. I call it “designing the landscape” because one can see the areas that have been deforested over the past few centuries and the isolated forest plots that were left, usually around water sources. By partnering with private landowners (providing incentives) these corridors can be created within cow pastures and gives the flora and fauna a way out who’d otherwise be trapped in these forests patches because they are so vulnerable in the open. Some birds, butterflies and plants are unable to cross open areas. (“Tropical Forest Restoration”, 2012)

biological corridor My Vision for the New Earth by Ra Huti Heh

Biological Corridors within farmland

 

An immediate, substantial, global carbon tax will drive decision options quickly to low or zero emission technologies and consumption habits. We can’t give people a choice to change anymore, it’s not happening, it must be imposed upon them. Every person, business or manufacturer who emits more that 5 metric tonnes of CO2 annually will be required to pay the tax to offset all GHG emissions above the 5 tonne limit.

A global governing body, “benevolent monarchy”, will govern by the principles of divine law. Rather than countries there will be territories, regions and local communities. All revenue received by the global governing entity from the carbon tax will be distributed to smaller governing bodies for research and development, dissemination of information, restoration of the natural environment, and used at local levels to implement adaptation strategies and mitigation.

Here is how the hierarchy will work:

GLOBAL GHG TAX (BENEVOLENT MONARCHY) GOVERNING EARTH

⬇︎

Revenue

⬇︎

R & D and inform the people

⬇︎

                Territories                                                  Territories                                                Territories

R & D                                                         R & D                                                     R & D

Info                                                           Info                                                           Info

 ⬇︎

                  Regions                                                    Regions                                                   Regions

Local and regional R&D                                    Local R&D                                                Local R&D

Info                                                              Info                                                           Info

 ⬇︎

           Local communities                                      Local communities                                      Local communities

Local communities                                       Local communities                                      Local communities

 ⬇︎

Actions and percentages of revenue for restoration, mitigation and adaptation.

The current economic system = growth. The future economic system must be sustainable = non-growth or zero growth, recognizing symbiosis, ethics and giving back to Earth. How can an economic system based on “growth” be sustainable? Nothing can grow forever without blowing up and dying.

I propose a new world without fossil fuels, local economies with organic (permaculture) food production (within 100 mile radius) and only the consumption of whole foods in season. Whole foods contain the full range of natural nutrients and by eliminating milling and processing there’ll be a decrease of emissions caused by these practices. Local communities with harsh winters, no fresh foods available, will preserve their foods for community sale and winter consumption.

permaculture gardening 400x360 My Vision for the New Earth by Ra Huti Heh

Organic, permaculture agriculture

 

We are responsible for the future generations, another aspect of divine (natural) law. We must consider the future climate change situation. What then is a just social discount…3.5% or 0.85%? (Roberts, 2012) I propose 0% because at present the world operates on what I call the, “big pig mentality”, first come, first serve (mostly developed countries). They must have that latest item with no thought about what it takes to produce the item or what it’s doing to the Earth.

Taxing now is an upfront investment for future generations and the revenue can be used for restoring natural resources, namely forests. It’s not giving monetary wealth to add to the future generations projected high incomes (Stern, 2006) but a healthy, naturally balanced environment and an appreciation for it because of our example.

Developing countries, like Costa Rica where I live, are already suffering the effects of climate change daily due to torrential rains, lightening on steroids and drought caused by a warmer planet, a consequence of human activity. At the same time developed countries unjustly emit freely. Since 1850 North America and Europe have produced about 70% of all CO2 emissions due to energy production, while developing countries have accounted for less than a quarter. (Stern, 2006) But, it’s also expected that as emissions decrease in developed countries they will increase in the developing countries because of their “catch up” mode, wanting to emulate their developed brothers and sisters. In Costa Rica emissions have increased threefold in the last 20 years. (“CO2 Emissions in Costa Rica, 2008) A carbon tax on a limited tonnage of CO2 would prevent this.

Let’s get down to brass tax, carbon tax that is. For our purposes here let’s use a price of $50 per metric tonne to illustrate how it can work. Restoration and preservation of the world’s tropical forests are my life and passion, let’s use them as our carbon capture strategy and a percentage of the global revenue allotted to them.

Because of combustion of fossil fuels the ppm of CO2 in our atmosphere is increasing 1.5% annually but at the same time our oxygen supply is decreasing 3.5% each year. Forests “capture” carbon and at the same time produce oxygen plus they increase habitat, biodiversity and ecological capital. Tropical forests in the belt around the Earth (23.5° north of the Equator to 23.5° south) are responsible for capturing the majority of CO2 due to short or non-existent dormant periods and the extensive leaf surface area compared to temperate zone forests. (“The Forest Biome”, Univ. of Calif. At Berkeley)

tropical belt on earth My Vision for the New Earth by Ra Huti Heh

Tropical belt around Earth

 

About 15% of the global population or 1 billion people live in so-called developed nations. (“What percent of the world’s population live in the developed world”, 2010) We will use a global carbon tax on all emissions over 5 metric tonnes/year/person at $50/tonne. Let’s say 2 billion people pay the tax because a certain percentage in developing countries will emit over the 5 m.t. limit. If we use an average per capita emission of 10 m.t. annually for these global citizens, they would pay $250/year each. A total global revenue of 500 billion dollars or ½ trillion dollars would be realized and could be used for worldwide R & D, dissemination of information, local mitigation and adaptation strategies and forest restoration.

We’ve destroyed about half of the Earth’s mature tropical forests since the mid 20th century, between 7 and 8 million square kilometers or 750 billion hectares. (Deforestation, Wikipedia) If one tenth of the total tax revenue (50 billion dollars) is allotted annually for tropical forests we could restore 10 million hectares (at $3000/hectare) for $30 billion plus pay environmental service payments ($100/hectare/year) to existing forest owners to conserve a total of 200 million hectares of forests worldwide annually for 20 billion. (Offset Carbon, Be Carbon Neutral For Life, 2012) It can be done every year! After 20 years we’d have recuperated 200 million hectares of our original forests and preserved another 200 million.

A conservative estimate of tropical forest CO2 sequestration is 20 tonnes/year/hectare. By 2030, the new forests (after only five years from planting date), will be sequestering and storing approximately 4 billion metric tonnes of CO2 annually. By 2050, with 400 million hectares of new forests and the 200 million hectares of existing forests we’ve been preserving, we’d be capturing 12 billion metric tonnes of GHG emissions annually and with the tax we can expect a sharp decrease in emissions as well.

rainforest1 400x300 My Vision for the New Earth by Ra Huti Heh

Imagine…this could be accomplished with only 50 billion dollars a year leaving the other 450 billion to be used for other climate change issues each year!

How do we solve the problem of extra cost not being passed on to consumers by business? Price increases cannot include the cost of carbon taxes because said taxes are for the global public good. This is an almost philanthropic gesture by business, to “give back”, but at the same time create a forest that offsets all their future emissions plus only pay the cost of preservation after the first five years ($100/ha/yr). The carbon tax must be separate from all other expenses.

Households and businesses will be required to report their yearly emissions “footprint” using a carbon calculator. There will also be rewards for decreased consumption and emissions.

I’ve always felt blessed to be alive during this time and now I know why. Look at the great challenge we face! All challenges/crises are our opportunity to transcend/overcome and here we have the opportunity to create a zero carbon world in harmony with our natural environment. So come on everybody…

Let’s Get Planting!

Roberta and the Yos tree My Vision for the New Earth by Ra Huti Heh

Bibliography

Tropical Forest Restoration (2012), lrff.org, retrieved October 19, 2013

http://lrff.org/about/tropical-rainforest-restoration/

“Discount Rates: A boring thing you should know about” by Dave Roberts, September 2012

http://grist.org/article/discount-rates-a-boring-thing-you-should-know-about-with-otters/

 Stern Review: The Economics of Climate Change (2006, BBC brief)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/30_10_06_exec_sum.pdf

 CO2 Emissions in Costa Rica (2008)

http://www.tradingeconomics.com/costa-rica/co2-emissions-metric-tons-per-capita-wb-data.html

 The Forest Biome, Univ. of Calif. at Berkeley, retrieved October 19, 2013

http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/glossary/gloss5/biome/forests.html

“What percent of the world’s population live in the developed world”, 2010

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20101005170251AAAz00h

Deforestation, Wikipedia.org, retrieved October 19, 2013

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deforestation

Offset Carbon, Be Carbon Neutral for Life (2012), lrff.org, retrieved October 19, 2013

http://lrff.org/offset-carbon/carbon-neutral-for-life/

 

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What is a low carbon economy?

I’m doing an online course about Climate Change from the University of Melbourne, Australia. As part of my study I had to write a 1500-word essay on one of two subjects, one of which was ‘What is a low carbon economy?’ which I chose.

I decided to write about Australia, not because I know all about Australia, which I don’t, but because one of the lecturers on the course had said discouraging things about the value of planting trees, with which I, as an ardent supporter of La Reserva Forest Foundation, disagreed strongly, and also about the relative safety of nuclear power as a low-carbon alternative to fossil fuel, with which I also disagreed in the light of the ongoing, worsening, nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima, Japan.

For your interest, here’s what I wrote for my essay, in .pdf format:

What-is-a-low-carbon-economy

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The Paradox of Climate Change

The two climate change issues in my area of the world, Costa Rica in Central America, are heavier rains and deeper drought, a paradox typical of the majority of tropical countries of the world.  We have a wet season and a dry season and both are being exacerbated by global and local factors alike.

800px Arenal Volcano panorama The Paradox of Climate Change

We have lived near Lake Arenal (above) in northern Costa Rica for over 30 years and during the 80’s and 90’s the tropical llanos east of us in Guatuso were deforested to create cattle pastures and farmland. From the mid-90’s until present I’ve witnessed the clouds evaporating long before reaching the western end of the lake where we live, whereas in the early 80’s they came all the way across to us and beyond. This is one consequence of deforestation…forests generate rain clouds and so after deforestation there’s less rain falling.

Lake Arenal is host to the largest hydroelectric project in the country to date. Initially it provided 70% (currently about 17%) of the electricity needs for the nation via two turbines separately located down the hill from the lake/reservoir.

Last year in August 2010 the national electric company, ICE, was worried about how little water Lake Arenal had and that was at the height of the rainy season. This year it was lower and continues to lack water. With increasing effects of climate change it seems that in the next 20 years my country should focus on getting away from hydropower rather than creating more dams with an undependable annual rainfall and forcing migration of indigenous people and wildlife.

The most recent report by the Costa Rica Meteorological Institute claims that currently climate change is costing the country US$188,000,000 annually in losses. The port city of Puntarenas is most impacted due to rising sea level but the entire country is seriously affected by rains that get heavier each year owing to global warming. When the rains fall people are buried in water before they know what’s happening, such as in this flash flood in November 2010. People stranded in their cars or drowned in their homes are almost a daily occurrence now during the rainy season.

Costa Rica has been developing wind energy projects since the mid-nineties right next to the ridge I live on. They also have a major geo-thermal plant on the Miravalles Volcano that produces approximately 8% of the national energy and in 2012 inaugurated its first major solar power plant in Bagaces, Guanacaste. These are the energy sources of the future for Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is mitigating climate change with practically carbon neutral energy technology but the increase in per capita emissions is alarming.

My mitigation strategy is to offset GHG emissions by restoring or preserving tropical forests. A conservative estimate for average sequestration rates of tropical forests is 20 metric tonnes/hectare/year or 25 trees per U.S. ton. My organization’s annual GHG emissions were 7.9 m.t. We offset 8 m.t. by supporting 200 trees.

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CLIMATE CHANGE, FORESTS AND ONE SIMPLE SOLUTION

smiling r CLIMATE CHANGE, FORESTS AND ONE SIMPLE SOLUTION

Did you know that we are spewing out 90,000,000 metric tons of manmade CO2 emissions worldwide daily? Again and again, since attending the Climate Leaders training last August I am amazed at how the majority of people aren’t aware of this or it’s drastic importance. Is it because CO2 is invisible that people don’t understand the urgency of this statistic?

I expressed this concern to the Climate Reality directors and they responded that they’d come up with the same conclusion and even had a video made to illustrate how much CO2 was emitted daily in a household using black balloons. Each balloon represented 2 oz. of CO2. The average per capita emissions in the US are 20 metric tons per year. 16,000 balloons would represent one ton of CO2, multiply that by 20 tons and you would see 320,000 black balloons floating for every person in the United States. One family would come close to a million black balloons, does this now give you an idea of the blanket of CO2 we have and continue to lay upon our Earth?

There are 3 factors to climate change

  • Population
  • Technology
  • Our way of thinking

Of course, population is at the root of it all and our technology of fossil fuel driven transportation and electrical usage is compounded by more people taking advantage of that technology. But for me the number one factor is the way we think or better put, how we’ve come to think. Bottom line, if we could change the way we think, what we think we need, the way we think we’re supposed to live, together WE could solve the climate crisis that is upon us now. But how do we do that? How do we use our worldwide massive technology toward renewable and alternative energy rather than the continued exploitation of the Earth’s finite resources?

Did you know that over 20% of all CO2 emissions in the world come from deforestation and the subsequent burning of the downed trees? The majority of the deforestation is happening to provide more cattle pastures for beef farming not for the wood contained in the forest. And so when the trees are cut it’s easier and less labor intensive to just slash burn the downed trees releasing all the carbon they have stored over hundreds of years into the atmosphere

Climate change is also affecting forests in a negative way. With that “blanket” of CO2 covering us the Earth’s hydrologic cycle becomes more intense because of the inability of the heat to escape our immediate atmosphere. This causes more moisture to evaporate from the ocean and other water bodies BUT also even more from the soil causing longer and deeper droughts. That’s one of the crazy paradoxes about climate change, more rain and flooding in some places and harder droughts in others.

The Brazilian Amazon lost about 965,000 square miles of vegetative greenness during the drought of 2010. It was the driest year since records began being kept 109 years ago. During the drought were terrible fires in Brasilia National Park. The examples could keep flowing at you but you get the picture. Less forest, less carbon sinks, less shade, less water and less habitat for ALL the life depending upon them. One way to understand this is to stand in the full shade of a primary forest and then immediately go stand out in a roadway without the benefit of trees and feel the difference in the temperature. How can we save our forests, what is the answer?

me in dress CLIMATE CHANGE, FORESTS AND ONE SIMPLE SOLUTION

The Dress

Here is one very important solution. The dress I’m wearing in the above photo is over 100 years old and made of hemp.  Industrial hemp was a regular crop on family farms in the US up until 1934 when Cannabis sativa was classified as a drug and subsequently outlawed, not only in the US but was pushed around the world. Families used hemp to make cloth, rope, canvas, medicine and even a type of building block can be made from hemp and used to construct houses. It is stronger than wood, is more durable and has over 50,000. If we could again promote the cultivation of hemp it has the potential to save our world’s forests. One-fourth acre of hemp is equal to 4 acres of trees and can be harvested every six months. It takes many decades for a forest to return after harvest.

The world’s forests have been exploited for their timber and now are being destroyed to “make room” for more cattle to produce more Big Mac’s. They are now being affected by the same climate change they have the ability to prevent and mitigate. It’s time for us to wake up to their importance, preserve and restore them and use an amazing plant that is a gift to man from our Earth, hemp.

Let’s Get Planting!!

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Learning the Birds

Long tailed Manakinmale Learning the Birds

Long-tailed Manakin (Toledo)

* I wrote this blog for the Global Warming is Real website in September 2012. RWS

My husband, Dan and I came to Costa Rica over 29 years ago because we wanted to have our own farm and couldn’t afford to buy land in the US. After having a dairy and then beef cattle for 15 years on the 40 hectares we bought in 1983 we witnessed, first hand, the environmental destruction these agricultural practices caused. We sold all of the cattle in 1998 and left all the land to regenerate back to native forest. Within one year I observed many birds that I’d never seen before. This led me into the forest with a bird book and binoculars to “learn the birds”.

Something amazing happened to me being in that forest day after day and it changed my life forever. I learned the interconnectedness of everything in the tropical forest, the interdependence each living being has for all others and realized that we, humans, are also a part of this interconnectedness. I watched the birds and began a very disciplined spiritual practice. Within 4 years I had identified more than 160 species of birds, just here in the La Reserva regenerated forest. But more than that the birds taught me something I never expected to learn, they weren’t depressed, worried, sad or stressed. They just awaken everyday, sing their song, forage for food, build their nests, take care of their babies, and on and on, each day. It made me ask, what’s the problem with human beings?

One day in 2004 while standing at the base of Papa Loco, a 400+ year Kapok (Ceiba) tree at La Reserva, and my great friend, a “revelation” came to me. It was an immediate knowledge. People in the northern zones of the world don’t realize how quickly the native tropical trees grow. In their latitudes trees grow less than 1 foot/year. I realized that if we could “get planting” (this became my organization’s motto) right away, like an army of people around the world, within 5 years we would have millions of hectares of forests restored all around the tropical belt of the Earth that would be sequestering the CO2 we humans are so intent on emitting. In 2005 I founded the La Reserva Forest Foundation, better known as LRFF (www.lrff.org), not only on this premise but in the knowledge that by returning native tropical forests we’d be giving back to ALL life, not just humans. We’d be providing habitat for so many species endangered by habitat loss and/or trapped in remnant forests left after deforestation.

At about the same time someone loaned me Al Gore’s book, “An Inconvenient Truth”. I was astounded and hopeful because here was someone worried about the same thing and was getting it out there to millions of people. Al’s spiritual take on the climate crisis is what impressed me especially because this was my driving force. I am not a religious person, don’t belong to a church, this is my very own path, one I’ve been following for many years and it has no name.

I would very much like to add to the active solutions for climate change the Restoration of Our Earth’s Environment. I call it working at the root of the problem. If we can just restore XX percentage of the world’s tropical forests, or any of the resources we’ve exploited from her in the past thousands of years, we will be repaid with a healthy environment for all future generations to thrive in.

LRFF has planted 70,000 trees in the past 3 years. We’ve done this entirely with private landowners. In 2011 we planted 35,000 native trees of more than 110 native species in a continuous biological corridor along the Rio Sol in Guatuso, Costa Rica with the Maleku indigenous people. They are already seeing the return of many species to the newly planted areas that haven’t been seen in many decades. Many of the participants have exclaimed over trees they haven’t seen since they were children.

Within the forest shade, no matter how hot it is in the cleared areas where the sun and rain are pouring down, it is markedly cooler and more humid. This is a quick experiment I’d like to do just to show people the difference and how that connects to the whole world. The more we restore the closer we return to the natural balance we’ve lost due to our unawareness of the interconnectedness I mentioned.

When our intentions are pure it’s a win/win situation. People learn best from direct experience and this is what we’ve seen time and time again in our projects. The people participating are as inspired as I was all those years ago, learning the birds.

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Top Ten Easiest Ways to be More Green!

Sometimes going green can be extremely inconvenient. While we support all measures of reducing your carbon footprint here at La Reserva, we understand that your time is something that you value greatly. Many people choose to go vegan or vegetarian (which can make you 17 or 7 times more green respectively) and some people choose to buy a hybrid or all electric car, but for many, those can be so inconvenient or expensive you just decide to do nothing. Going green is not always dramatic! You can make super small changes to your life without inconveniencing yourself while still making a huge difference in the world. We like to call these Green Nuggets at LRFF because they are bite size and easily digestible ways of going green. The best way to use them? Pick one to start. We don’t want you to be overwhelmed trying to implement 10 different things immediately. Pick one and then move on to the next one when you are ready. Simple, easy, effective, and world-saving. That sounds great, doesn’t it? These are going to be literally the easiest, most convenient things we can come up with. Many will even save you time and be MORE convenient than not being green. Line drying clothes? Not that hard and it is green, but wouldn’t you rather just throw it in the dryer? Too inconvenient. Fix leaky faucets? Seems easy and it is green, but I don’t really want to find the leaks or call a plumber. Five minute showers? This definitely saves water, but showers are awesome, 5 minutes doesn’t leave nearly enough time to bask in that amazing warm water while singing Don’t Stop Believing,  Bohemian Rhapsody, and all the songs by Rootz Underground. These easy ways to go green will seriously be as easy as they come! Well here they are, the infamous LRFF Green Nuggets of the top ten easiest ways to be more green!

1. Turn off the tap water when brushing your teeth. Turn on water. Wet toothbrush. Turn off water. Brush teeth. Spit out. Turn on water and rinse mouth and toothbrush. Turn off water. BOOM. That easy. It can save gallons and gallons of water a year. All it takes is a turn of handle.

2. Unplug unused electronics. Leaving that iPod charger or coffee maker plugged into the wall can use a bunch of energy while they are not being used. Simply unplug electronics that aren’t being used. It isn’t that hard to plug them back in right before you use it. You made need sometime to develop a habit of this, but once you do it is smooth and easy sailing. Even if you make the change for a couple of electronics, it is still something. Also, if you have a kid or you still like to have fun, turn off video game consoles once your done! It can be easy to forget and they can stay on for days at a time. Save your game and turn it off until next time. This can save hundreds of dollars a year!

3. Switch all your light bulbs to CFLs (or at least switch a few). Many of you already do this. It is a popular one, but an easy and effective one nonetheless. Buy some CFLs and when a light goes out start replacing them with their more energy effecient bretheren.  It is just as easy as using normal lightbulbs, but saves a ton of energy!

4. Buy an inexpensive reusable water bottle, and stop buying plastic disposable bottles. I swear, I love to save money as much, if not more, than saving the environment. Buying water bottles from Costco my whole life is easy and seems cheap, but they money adds up over time. Just buy a reusable water bottle and refill it. When I started to do this, I noticed I also started to drink more water, which is always a good thing!  Buy a filter for your tap water too if you don’t like drinking from the tap. It may be more expensive intially, but it will pay off in the end.

5. Wash Laundry in cold water. You don’t need to do anything special for this besides press a different button or move the dial to a different spot when washing your clothes. 90% of the energy used when washing clothes is used to heat the water. Let’s cut that out and wash all our clothes with cold water. It is actually much better for you clothes as well and they will last longer! Do you know what saving 90% of the energy does as well, saves YOU green, AKA money!

6. Pay bills online. This is one that saves you time and is more convenient than not being green. Getting a bunch of bills in the mail uses papers and kills trees. Simply switch over to paperless billing and just pay your bills online. It is much easier to just send something electronically then write a check and remail it through snail mail. You can even set up automatic payments and alerts to make sure you pay your bills on time and without doing ANYTHING. Doing nothing after you set up automatic payments is pretty easy to do. I can be pretty outstanding at doing nothing.

7. Lower the temperature on your hot water heater. What is easier than taking 2 minutes to do something once? Don’t be a smartie and say something that takes 1 minute and you do it once. Seriously though, this is so easy. Just change the temperature one time on your water heater, and it can have a lasting impact on the enivronemtn and your wallet. Here is how to do it:

8. Turn off the lights. Your mom tried to hammer this into your head. It was as common a phrase as “don’t play with your food”. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t listen to my mom very much.  I still play with my food and I still leave on lights after I leave a room. How easy is it though to turn off a switch? If you aren’t sure, go try it. Find the nearest switch and turn it on and off. Holy cow! Revel in how easy that was! Now do it. When you leave a room, get in the habit of turning off the lights. You will save energy, the environment, and MONEY. At the very least do it for the money, it is also green.

9. Eat less meat. I know you’re thinking that I told you being vegan and vegetarian are inconvenient to a lot of people and you totally agreed with that. Well, I am not telling you to be vegan or vegetarian! I am telling you that eating less meat is super easy. It is as easy as eating one less meal a day with meat in it, or picking one day a week to be meat free. All you have to do is pick something different on the menu or leave the meatballs out of the spaghetti. A lot of times it can be super simple to pick a meal without meat, do that slightly more often. Not enough to inconvenience yourself, but just a little more than you do now. Being vegetarian is 7 times more green than a meat eater and a vegan is 17 times more green.

10. Plant a tree. Planting your own tree isn’t very easy, but we can do it for you. All it takes is for you to go here, pick the amount of trees, then checkout using PayPal. We will plant trees in your name and they will continue to reduce your carbon footprint pretty much forever. Pretty hard to beat this one in easiness and effectiveness.

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DOUBLING DOWN IN 2012

mora saprissista1 DOUBLING DOWN IN 2012

Yes, we’re doubling down here at LRFF, meaning we have more than twice the amount of trees to plant in 2012 as we did in 2011. With all of the new projects we’ve been scouting and developing since January we now have a total of 70 hectares to reforest or 70,000 trees to plant. Our total for last year on the Rio Sol Biological Corridor project was 35,000.

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Equinox 2012, Caring and Maintaining

Maybe you’ve been wondering what happened to the updates, it’s been longer than usual. Life, in its exquisite beauty, if one flows with it, has taken my attention away from the normal organizational work and given me an opportunity to put my  “being of service to ALL life” statement into practice.

The two Equinoxes and two Solstices are the holidays I honor, always. They are the major changes in the yearly cycle and affect all physical manifestation, this waxing and waning of the year just as the moon behaves on the monthly cycle. It’s always interesting to watch the growing activity build from December 21st to June 21st each year. This past week I celebrated Spring Equinox, which marks the place of perfect balance between the two solstices, a feeling of stillness prevails before even more activity builds.

jorn2 400x300 Equinox 2012, Caring and Maintaining

Jorn Dallinga, LRFF’s super forestry intern


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Something To Be Proud Of

We can all be proud to have planted 35,000+ trees in the past six months in the Rio Sol Biological Corridor project. Here are a lot of photos of the last two weeks of planting and a bit of story too. The video below shows the love each tree is planted with.

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Starting The New Year Off Right

DSC060191 400x300 Starting The New Year Off Right

Orchid Speak

Last March our friend and orchid expert Tyler Kartzinel visited La Reserva looking for one special orchid that he’d seen a photo of on the LRFF website. You may remember the blog I wrote last year entitled “Orchid Speak”. Tyler found a flowering specimen of the same genus but couldn’t find the species he was looking for. The other day we saw the orchid above flowering next to the house at La Reserva and recognized it as one of the “dancing ladies” in white this time. We took photos of the different parts of the plant and sent them to Tyler. Here’s what he had to say:

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