March 1st was an epic day for the Size of Herefordshire. We have developed a ground-breaking way of raising money for the rainforest and involving the people of Herefordshire at the same time. It is an interactive map: it divides our county into 10 hectare squares. By clicking on the map and moving the cursor, people can find an area of the county that means something to them. They can then click on the number of squares they want to sponsor; the website then takes them through to a JustGiving donations page which will direct the donation to the Forest Peoples Programme. At the rate of £5 a square, donors will have protected an equivalent area of rainforest in the land of the Wampi indigenous people' in North eastern Peru., where the Forest Peoples Programme is doing great work.
The interactive map is the inspired idea of some bright people at Acclimatise, the climate change adaptation consultancy. They kindly passed the idea on to us.. It was then developed by Ian Short of PragSys, based in Cardiff. Its USP is its ability to connect donors to their favourite places and then link them to the Amazon rainforest. We hope that Herefordians will sponsor their villages, their districts, even their parishes, as well as beloved beauty spots.
We also hope very much that other counties in England will follow Herefordshire and set up their own interactive maps, so protecting increasing areas of rainforest from loggers and miners and ranchers. We hope to see a Size of Shropshire and Size of Gloucestershire.. and even a size of Greater London. After England... perhaps some European countries. One can dream.
The concept in fact could be used for other fund raising needs. If the Phillipines is hit again by ferocious hurricanes, an interactive map of the country would enable people to send support to devastated areas. And the same thinking could apply to Syria, Gaza... the potential list is long.
For the moment, we at the Size of Herefordshire urge Herefordians to click on the map and sponsor some hectares of God's Own County.. and thus protect rainforest vital to us all.