It’s nice to see news about grassroots organizations that manage to deliver tangible results and do it with equal parts mirth and moxie. The BBC’s environmental analyst, Roger Harrabin, has written a piece detailing a charity whose whole modus operandi was to help decrease deforestation in Africa and reclaim their country’s name as a positive societal yardstick. Tired of reading in the press about areas of deforestation equaling the ‘size of Wales,’ Welsh environmentalists decided to take proactive measures to correct the analogy – now they can proudly claim that they raised £2m in three years to protect over two million hectares of forest.
This is a testament to positive ‘spin doctoring’ and a resolute desire by the public to get involved in a charity that communicated its idea with a light touch. The Size of Wales campaign resulted in “more than £1m gathered from the public, and that has been match-funded by a Cardiff-base charitable trust, the Waterloo Foundation.” It’s also amazing to see how much can be achieved with this amount of money.
The next step for organizer Hannah Scrase is to increase the level of forest protection to the size of Europe. As politicians continue to battle through the mountains of red tape and often hollow promises of emissions reduction, it’s more important than ever to affect the change ourselves – something like the Size of Wales project is a perfect example of community action that didn’t require decades of time in order to be effective. Scrase was also able to use the media to further illuminate the current climate crisis, “Tropical deforestation amounts to as much carbon emissions as the world’s transport – people don’t realize that, we have to reduce it if we want to keep climate change to something reasonable.” And that mission, clearly, can begin in the community.