Cool Earth

Cool Earth, founded by the originator of the Lonely Planet guide books Mark Ellingham,  are proud that they don’t create forest reserves or buy land. Instead they put the indigenous people back in control of the rainforest. They do this by partnering villages in the forest, getting the villagers better incomes, plus better schools and health clinics.  In this way, the villagers are better able to resist the loggers. Destroying the forest would cost the villagers more than sustaining it.

One of Cool Earth’s newest projects is in Northern Peru near the border with Ecuador where there are seven villages belonging to the Awajun people. The Awajun are northern Peru’s largest nation and famous for their fierce independence.

The Awajun villages are scattered along the banks of the Rio Maranon, a major tributary and headwater of the Amazon River. The forest here plunges from cloud forest to lowland forest.

Cool Earth are aiming to protect the area the Awajun live in by out pricing forest destruction. The charity are fostering the development of cacao, of fish farms and traditional Awajun jewellery which features seeds gathered from the rainforest.

This jewellery is made by an association of producers who call themselves AMARNO. Some of their jewellery has inspired Vivienne Westwood, and Cool Earth is working to get new markets for Awajun jewellery.



Cool Earth jewellery website


Most of Cool Earth-supported villages are in key places so that they guard access to much larger areas of the rainforest. Indeed Cool Earth estimate that in general their projects protect ten times as much rainforest as the land the villagers actually occupy.


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