Madagascar is an incredible island with over 80% of plants and animals found nowhere else on earth. It is also the home of all the lemurs. 90% of the forests have been destroyed and yet it is still one of the world’s hotspots for bio-diversity.
The people of Madagascar are some of the poorest in the world. The country has a per capita income of US $461. There are only 11 nations on the planet that are listed as poorer than Madagascar. In contrast, the United States per capita income is $41,663. In other words, the average person’s annual income in Madagascar is just over 1% the income level of people in the United States.
Planting The Seeds of Hope
Yet there is hope. Heidi and I had the privilege of speaking this week with Steve Fitch, the founder of Eden Reforestation Projects, and Christopher Mannoia about the projects they are doing there. Eden Projects have already planted well over 50 million trees in Madagascar and Ethiopia. In Madagascar, their efforts have been focused on planting mangrove trees and their efforts have proven very successful with many trees well over 6 metres tall.
Helping People Out of Poverty
We began working with Eden Reforestation Projects at the beginning of the year, and our interest has been in their new project of reforesting dry deciduous forestsin the west of the island. The Malagasy government gave ERP a plot of land for their test site. There they have established a nursery and have begun training the villagers of the area to be involved in the project. The project provides employment to people in severe poverty, for many, this will be their first job. This allows them to live with dignity to be able to provide for their families. There is a close connection between extreme poverty and environmental degradation, and we are proud to be involved with ERP to in our small way help to change the world for the better.
Thank You For Making A Difference
Every product that you stock helps to change the lives of many. Simply by choosing to stock our products you are helping many people from finding their way out of poverty and helping to preserve Madagascar’s unique wildlife. The photos you see in this post were taken by Jamie who works with ERP sent through this morning. They are shots of their first pilot dry deciduous reforestation site located on the new Sarobidy Training Centre. ‘Sarobidy’ in Malagasy means ‘precious’. Life is precious, and trees are precious in that they help to create sustainable life on this planet we call earth.
We will have more updates for you in 2013.
We have reached our first milestone, having provided funds for the planting of 17,067 trees since the beginning of 2012 as a result of your generous support of our Visions of GREENdeur project.
We wish you and your family a wonderful and safe Christmas break and want to say thank you for all your support this year and for helping to change the lives of many.
David and Heidi
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