UPDATE – 17 August 2011: On 15 August 2011, Albert George of the Amazon Reforestation Project wrote to REDD-Monitor stating that “we have severed all ties with Shift2Neutral”.
Last week, Shift2Neutral announced its involvement in another project, this time in the Amazon. Shfit2Neutral has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Amazon Reforestation Project to “save more than 850,000 hectares of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil from Deforestation”. Shift2Neutral will also “assist in the Reforestation of more than 150,000 hectares of land already effected by Avoided Deforestation.” Whatever that means.
As with Shift2Neutral’s other projects, little information is available about the project in Brazil.
However, there is some information available about the Amazon Reforestation Project. It was founded by two men, Albert George and Dr. Francisco Ritta Bernardino. They met in 2007, at the treetop hotel that Bernardino runs, the Ariau Amazon Tower Hotel in Brazil. One visitor describes the hotel as “about the strangest thing I’d ever seen: five circular towers that resemble lopsided wedding cakes, topped with tin roofs painted in tropical blue”.
George and Bernardino set up the Amazon Reforestation Project together “to put the Amazon locals to work planting trees on Bernardino’s land.” Bernardino’s land covers an area of almost one million hectares.
On its website, Amazon Reforestation Project explains how it works:
ARP members fund the development of Green Zones in large deforested areas of the Amazon. Green Zones are acre tracts of land that have been depleted in the Amazon. Rainforest; Reforestation is the natural methods used in replenishing the Green Zones. The ancient methods used by tribes in the Amazon are used by the ARP Project to restore these depleted areas. The ARP partnership will secure the newly developed Green Zones for the life of the project. The Amazon Reforestation Project will replenish lands that have been destroyed for development by illegal lumbering. We will secure the land and replant it within a predetermined period of time after purchase of a Green Zone by a designated individual or corporate entity.
- Invest in conserving the largest expanse of tropical rainforest located in Brazil (The state of Amazonas is the largest state in terms of geographic area within Brazil with 98% encompassed by tropical rainforest).
The Amazon Reforestation Project is a registered member company of the Georgia Institute of Technology Advanced Technology Development Center. The ATDC website sheds a little more light onto the company operations in the Amazon:
Albert George of Savannah has teamed up with billionaire environmentalist Dr. Francisco Ritta Bernardino to make economic sense of Amazon reforestation. George and Bernardino launched the Amazon Reforestation Project to put locals to work planting trees on Bernardino’s 2.4 million acres of land in the Amazon rainforest. The locals are often driven to illegal logging to generate income due to lack of other employment opportunities. The Amazon Reforestation Project provides an alternative to illegal logging as a profession while reforesting the Amazon one tree at a time.
There is no mention of the project on Shift2Neutral’s website. Below is a press release about the project. REDD-Monitor has invited Amazon Reforestation Project and Shift2Neutral to provide further information about the project, such as what Shift2Neutral’s role is in the project, whether the project aims to generate carbon offsets and whether the project was drawn up in compliance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. REDD-Monitor looks forward to posting their response.
Shift2Neutral and the Amazon Reforestation Project sign a Memorandum of Agreement in an unprecedented move to save more than 850,000 hectares of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil from Deforestation and to assist in the Reforestation of more than 150,000 hectares of land already effected by Avoided Deforestation.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRLog (Press Release) – Sep 16, 2010 – Atlanta USA – Shift2Neutral and the Amazon Reforestation Project sign a Memorandum of Agreement in an unprecedented move to save more than 850,000 hectares of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil from Deforestation and to assist in the Reforestation of more than 150,000 hectares of land already effected by Avoided Deforestation
Shift2Neutral with the assistance of its Canadian partner Mr Ron Dewhurst, worked closely with Co Founders of the Amazon Reforestation Project, Mr Albert George and President and Chairman renowned environmentalist and former spokesperson for Jacques Cousteau, Dr. Francisco Ritta Bernardino.
The key initiatives and drivers for the agreement is the protection of natural land and forests in area owned by Amazon Reforestation Project, and to work together to cease the decline in the environment at local, national, and global levels.
In the Amazon the uncontrolled cutting and burning of trees and the loss of surface soils rich in humus has resulted in the release of carbon into the atmosphere contributing to green house gases and accelerating global warming.
Both groups agree and believe that linking people’s economic self-interest and the health of ecosystems is one of the most promising ways to garner interest in the conservation challenges facing society today. The moment is now, for the private sector to put these strengths to work in ways that will permanently halt unsustainable deforestation and allow the global society to protect the ecosystems on which we all depend.
With the cutting of forests, billions of tons of greenhouse gases are released (from carbon stored in trees, plants and soils) into the atmosphere. Roughly 20% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are caused by deforestation. By comparison, the entire global transportation sector is responsible for roughly 14% of annual greenhouse gas emissions.
Both Shift2Neutral and the Amazon Reforestation Project believe this can be achieved with real benefits to local stakeholders. We must recognize the rights of indigenous peoples and the local communities involved, protect their native and indigenous environment and culture through mechanisms that provide assistance to them and the protection of their land.
Regardless of national or international policies, deforestation cannot be combated effectively unless local landowners and residents have a desire and need to protect the forests. Through leadership in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) stemming from successful REDD+ programs can issues such as health, environment, food, education, bio diversity and culture be correctly addressed.
Through the conservation efforts of groups like the Amazon Reforestation Project and its founders and that of Shift2Neutral and its agents can avoided deforestation strategy be put into practice and not just motherhood statements.
About The Amazon Reforestation Project
The Amazon Reforestation Project Inc. is a registered member company of the Georgia Institute of Technology Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) science and technology incubator and is led by world renowned environmentalist and former spokesperson for Jacques Cousteau, Dr. Francisco Ritta Bernardino (President & Chairman), daughter Dr. Eliane Ritta Honorato (Chief of Operations) and Albert A. George II (Chief Executive Officer) former Director of Education for the Georgia Aquarium Inc.
Contact Amazon Reforestation Project Inc.
155 Wynfield Way
Atlanta USA 30331
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