The Size of Herefordshire, after a prolonged period in the maternity ward, is now a newborn infant, blinking in the daylight. Its birth has been welcomed by the first donations, amounting this morning to £2,000 - spread between Cool Earth and the Forest Peoples Programme.
So already we have protected, as far as we can forsee, some 5,000 rainforest hectares. Not a big dent in the size of our county (218,000 hectares, the area of Peruvian rainforest we aim to protect) but perhaps the size of Hereford City. It is a good start.
One friend has said that when she first heard the words The Size of Herefordshire, she thought it meant The Sighs of Herefordshire - sighs going up all over the county, perhaps at the state of the economy, the tactics of supermarkets, the sight of Chelsea celebrating the Premier League title... but most of all of course the challenge of climate change.
Well, that would be understandable. Claude Martin, who was head of the World Wildlife Foundation between 1993 and 2005, had just launched a report on the precarious state if the great tropical rainforests, which are vanishing fast. He was speaking at the launch of a new group called On The Edge, which which will provide an up-to-date portrait of the health of the world's rainforests. It brings together satellite imaging and data gathered by economic and ecological experts to predict the likely future of the forests over the next decades, as the Guardian reported.
Claude Martin said it was totally underestimated by many, including scientists, the extent to which rainforests were increasingly unable to contribute towards managing the threat of climate change. "For a long time the hope had been that the tropical rainforests could absord half of the fossil fuel emissions we are producing. But the more forets become the victims of climate change themselves, because of increasing levels of drought, the more they are in danger of turning into a source of CO2."
This prospect is why sighs are not enough - and why The Size will show that Herefordshire is not going to lie back and close its eyes. We are up for the fight!
Jeremy Bugler. Co-Ordinator The Size of Herefordshire. 26 May 2015.