Taking Root, an organization recently created to combat deforestation in Nicaragua, will be holding an open forum on Oct. 11 at Le Divan Orange to garner Canadian support for their mission.
The event is taking place to announce the launch of the Montreal branch of the non-profit organization. The organization’s co-creator Kahlil Baker has made it his goal to work closely with Nicaraguan community members in order to keep the project as grassroots as possible.
He also wants to get different local school groups, environmental organizations and environmentally conscious people involved, so they may share their ideas and show support for the project.
Baker said Nicaragua is the ideal location for this project because “it is one of the cheapest places to go about reforesting and is also one of the areas in the greatest need.”
The creators plan to organize a group of individuals to go down to Nicaragua in either May or June of 2008 to work in conjunction with local organizations already doing reforestation work in Nicaragua.
According to Baker, reforestation is one of the most viable solutions for students to get involved because it is not very technologically intensive. “In terms of cost versus benefits, reforestation is one the most productive solutions to combat global warming through the reduction of greenhouse gases,” said Baker.
Still, it isn’t as simple as going down, planting a tree and watching it grow. Baker says other obstacles include informing the community about why this issue is important, figuring out solutions to prevent the forest from being cut down in the first place, and ensuring that the trees are allowed to flourish unharmed.
But Baker does not want this project to be, what he calls, a “neocolonial imposition of Western values on the Nicaraguan people.”
Other goals for this discussion will therefore be to figure out how to best integrate people from Nicaragua into the project, to gain support from local organizations and to discuss what benefits it really brings to local communities.
Some of the major causes for the destruction of forests in equatorial regions include the territory being used as pastoral and agricultural land. Grazing animals destroy the possibility of re-growth and the rich topsoil present in rainforests only remains agriculturally viable for a matter of years.
These processes then leave the land barren without any possibility of the previously diverse ecosystems returning.
Reforestation helps the removal of carbon from the air and in turn the release of oxygen into the atmosphere. This process prevents soil erosion, which reverses the processes of desertification, regulates precipitation and provides essential habitat for wildlife. At the same time it provides “economic, cultural and aesthetic benefits to nearby communities,” said Baker.
“The basic idea of the discussion will be to present the project’s goals and to get people involved in various ways,” said baker. To get the organization off the ground initial funding through donations will be necessary until it can ultimately become economically self-sustaining. Baker also to plans to make the organization a collective in which people can sit on the board of directors to make decisions and help run the project.
The main goal of the event however is for people interested in the project to get to know each other.
“There are so many people who are interested in these types of things but by themselves are limited. So the idea is to unify these people to do the project as a collective,” said Baker.
Further information about the project is available at http://takingrootproject.org. The event will be taking place at Le Divan Orange located at 4234 Saint-Laurent between 5:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.