How the Rainforest Alliance is Impacting Our World

In today’s growing climate of environmental sustainability awareness and the recent upsurge in green products and earth friendly consumers, it seems like organizations doing good things for the world are a dime a dozen. The Rainforest Alliance is a lot of things, but it’s certainly not one of the hundreds of organizations that are riding the wave of the public’s ever fickle favor. Founded more than twenty years ago, the Rainforest Alliance works hard to conserve biodiversity, encourage sustainable livelihood, and reform business practice and consumer behaviors through robust education networks and tireless campaigns.

The Rainforest Alliance approaches the challenges of environmental sustainability from a lot of angles, profoundly impacting all sides of the production and consumption chain. Their programs and strategic alliances are diverse and effective.

Sustainable forestry

Just three years after their inception in 1989, the Rainforest Alliance founded the world’s first sustainable forestry certification program. SmartWood, as the program is called, certifies forestry operations that meet strict environmental and social standards which ensure sustainable practices and safe, fair workplace standards. Forestry operations which meet the SmartWood program’s standards are awarded the ability to include the program’s seal on their products to help consumers make responsible decisions when purchasing lumber or other forestry related products. The Rainforest Alliance’s forestry program isn’t just talk, either. In fact, Greenpeace, a well known global environmental organisation, ranked the SmartWood program as the “top of the class” in a report entitled “Wood Products Legality Verification Systems: An Assessment.”

Sustainable agriculture

There are similarly strict guidelines to the certification of tropical crop producing farms. To obtain certification coffee, banana, cocoa, orange and tea plantations, among other farming operations must adhere to specific regulations reducing the use of harmful chemicals, improving ecosystem conservation, and protecting the rights and health of the plantation workers. The results of tropical farm certifications are impressive. Between 1994 and 2000, for example, the Rainforest Alliance worked with Chequita, one of the world’s largest banana exporters, to certify all of its Latin American banana farms. This huge effort cost Chequita some $20 million and drastically improved the environmental sustainability and social responsibility of its banana farming operations.

Sustainable tourism

The Rainforest Alliance also works with existing certification programs to improve environmental sustainability in small and medium sized tourism businesses throughout Latin America. Through training and education programs, strategic partnerships with businesses in all aspects of the tourism trade, and an ongoing, determined promotion of existing certification initiatives, the organization strives to promote social and environmental best practice through a variety of veins. Their efforts have been so successful that in 2008 the Discovery Channel noted that the Rainforest Alliance’s efforts are “…possibly leading to a world-wide standard for what ecotourism ought to achieve.”

Partners that matter

One of the most powerful strategies of the Rainforest Alliance is the persuasion of huge public facing organisations to put more value in sustainable business practice by demonstrating the environmental and social value in revamping policies and re-organizing supply chains. With benchmarks like Unilever agreeing to certify all of its Lipton Tea plantations by 2015, JP Morgan, Citigroup and Nike printing their annual social responsibility reports on certified paper, and many McDonalds locations switching to certified coffee beans, the leaps and bounds of progress are strikingly clear.

With programs improving farming, forestry, and tourism environmental and social responsibility in more than sixty countries worldwide, it’s no wonder the Rainforest Alliance’s reputation is so impressive.

The Rainforests You Didn’t Know Existed (Ireland to Malaysia)

Rainforests are more than just a fascinatingly biodiverse environment to explore – they play a crucial role in preserving the future of mankind, with a recent study showing that rainforests absorb more than half of the carbon emissions around the world. This means the preservation of rainforests goes beyond a mere conceit – it’s an imperative. So what better way to spend your travels than learning about these environmental powerhouses, and perhaps even pitching in with some conservation efforts? They’re an incredible place to explore flora and fauna, making a rainforest break an intensely rewarding experience – and if you’re interested in getting your hands dirty somewhere a little less busy than on your typical Amazon adventure, check out some of these little-known rainforests.

The Udzungwa Mountains, East Africa

These extraordinary mountain ranges were almost unexplored just 35 years ago – teaming with rare and beautiful wildlife, these lush ranges have now been designated one of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots. Thousands of new species have been discovered here, and it’s been described as “a land where time stood still”, due to its pristine, almost completely untouched environment. Soaring up like a mirage in the desert, these mountains are surrounded by endless stretches of arid savannah – a true miracle of nature.

Koh Samui, Thailand

One of the largest islands in the Gulf of Thailand, Ko Samui is known for its beautiful white sand beaches, upmarket resorts and riotous nightlife – but did you know that it is also home to a lush and expansive rainforest? With a warm, humid climate, this tropical island is home to a number of rare and extraordinary creatures including King and Queen Cobra snakes, Box Jellyfish, giant monitor lizards and even whale sharks. The pristine rainforest can be explored via a three-hour hike or even a jungle safari and is overflowing with cascading waterfalls, lush tropical greenery, all manner of monkeys and even wild elephants.

Bukit Nanas, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The smallest rainforest in the world at just 9.3 hectares, this incredible rainforest within a city is a landmark at the base of the enormous KL Tower. Bijoux as it may be, it still preserves many species and features of the expansive diverse rainforest it once was, including monkeys, pythons, lizards and squirrels. It’s probably the only rainforest which you can hike through, then eat in a revolving restaurant directly above! Bukit Nanas serves as an important reminder of the effects of human inhabitation on natural environments – jump on a flight from Dublin to Kuala Lumpar to check it out.

Southern Siberian Rainforest, Siberia

A rainforest in Siberia? It’s snow joke! A temperate, rather than a tropical rainforest, this humid and occasionally even snowy (!) rainforest can reach temperatures as low as -19 degrees Celsius. Home to brown bears, European adders, golden eagles, peregrine falcons and grey wolves (to name but a few), this rare wintery forest also houses a huge variety of trees, including silver birch and Siberian pine. A truly unusual rainforest!

So take a trip to one of these wild and beautiful natural rainforests, to learn about some of the most important eco-systems Earth offers. As educationally rich as they are rich in natural beauty, these rainforests are sure to inspire you.

Benefits of the Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo

Have you ever tried to complete a task, such as cook dinner, make a phone call, or clean the dishes, with a busy baby crawling around the house? If you have, you know how challenging it can be to keep your baby entertained (and keep him from harm) while you try to get something done.

My first son was a pretty easy baby. I could find all sorts of toys to entertain him with, and he would sit for at least 20 minutes trying to figure out how something worked or push buttons again and again. 

Fast forward a couple of years to my second son, and it was a completely different story. Christopher wanted to be held all the time. If he wasn’t being held, then he wanted me to sit and play with him on the floor. He could not entertain himself independently for even five minutes, and he would start to cry.

Thank goodness my husband had bought us the Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo when my first son was starting to crawl. As soon as my second son was able to sit up on his own, I pulled out the baby jumperoo again. And it worked! Christopher would be entertained for 15-20 minutes at a time. In baby-land, that’s a coveted amount of time for any parent.

Benefits of the Rainforest Jumperoo

I found the Rainforest Jumperoo to be an invaluable addition to our baby toolkit. If you have a baby who is able to sit up and wants to move around, the jumperoo allows them to safely exercise and helps develop gross motor and fine motor skills. Here are some other benefits of this jumperoo:

  • Toys all around the toy in a circular design to give baby plenty of things to play with
  • Folds for storage
  • With a soft seat and 3 levels of height adjustment, the jumperoo is designed for baby’s comfort
  • Encourages leg muscle development at a time when baby is preparing to stand and walk
  • Easy to set up and easy to take the seat cover off for cleaning
  • Rainforest theme and colors are gender neutral, so the jumperoo is appropriate for girls and boys

If you are looking for a way to entertain your baby or looking for a gift for a new parent, look at the Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo. It is one of the bestselling baby products and is highly rated by reviewers.