Giving Compass' Take:

· Writing for the Skoll Foundation, Suzanne Pelletier, Executive Director of the Rainforest Foundation US, discusses her work and the role indigenous rights play in the fight against climate change.

· How is deforestation affecting the environment and climate change? How do rainforest conservation efforts help in the battle against climate change? How can philanthropy help advance the indigenous rights movement?

· Check out this article on Indigenous people protecting the Amazon rainforest.

Global issue
Deforestation is simply one of the most pressing issues that we face right now. It’s both a human’s rights issue for the people directly affected by deforestation all over the world, but it’s also a global issue. We’re all affected by deforestation, climate change, and loss of biodiversity. Current generations are already suffering but future generations will suffer even more if we don’t do something about it right now.

Tropical rainforests right now hold about 20 percent of the earth’s fresh water—they play an incredible role in water circulation. If deforestation rates continue, it will mean irreparable damage not only to our water supply, but to our local and global weather patterns. Tropical rainforests also harbor about half the world’s biodiversity. Once that’s lost, we lose our ability to solve problems. Think about all the medicines that have been created from the plants and animals of the rainforest.

With the global climate crisis right now, about 15 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions every year are from deforestation in the tropics. If we don’t stop deforestation we aren’t going to solve the global climate crisis.

There’s also a cultural crisis right now. We’re losing about one language every two weeks. Often because indigenous people are being pushed off their land, disconnected from their culture. With every language lost there is knowledge lost.

I’m trying to create a world that places more value on protecting its natural resources than extracting them.

Read the full article about saving rainforests by Suzanne Pelletier at the Skoll Foundation.