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.

Rainforest Conservation – What is the Big Deal and How Does it Affect Me Anyway?

Lush green rainforests may be something you’ve pictured only briefly when dreaming about a tropical vacation but did you know that the health of the world’s rainforests has a huge influence on the quality of your daily life?

The rainforest is often described as the “Lungs of our Planet”. The Amazon rainforest alone is responsible for producing more than 20 percent of the oxygen we breath! As an added bonus, by taking in carbon dioxide and giving off oxygen for us to breath, the rainforest actually reduces green house gases and fights global warming.

But sadly, we are losing the earth’s rainforests to feed the world’s ravenous appetite for cheap lumber and agriculture. Check out these statistics. You’re not going to believe them but they’re true!

  1. 54 of the world’s 193 countries have already lost 90 percent or more of their forest cover. Rainforests that once covered 14% of the earth’s land surface now cover a mere 6% and experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be gone in less than 40 years.
  2. 1.5 acres of rainforest are lost every second (that equates to 50 million acres a year: an area roughly the size of Oregon)
  3. Nearly half of the world’s species of plants and animals will be destroyed or severely threatened over the next 25 years due to rainforest deforestation.
  4. We are losing approximately 137 plant and animal species every single day due to rainforest deforestation. That equates to 50,000 species a year!
  5. As the rainforest species disappear, so do many possible cures for life-threatening diseases. Currently, 121 prescription drugs sold worldwide come from plant-derived sources. Twenty-five percent of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from rainforest ingredients! Many more could be developed as only about 1% of tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists.
  6. Most rainforests are cleared by chainsaws, bulldozers and fires for timber and then are followed by farming and ranching operations. In Indonesia, the current rate of logging could totally wipe out native forests within only 10 years. The forest has already been totally wiped out in countries like Haiti and Ivory Coast where barely a tree can be found anymore.

Even worse is the fact that rainforests do not regenerate as our temperate forests in Vermont do. Once gone, they are gone forever and along with them the wonderful diversity of plants and wildlife that inhabit them.

So now that you know why rainforests are a big deal, you’re probably asking yourself, “What on earth can I do about it?” Well, this is where green consumerism comes in. Everyday when you’re shopping you make choices that effect the health of the rainforest. It’s true. Do you buy products made of soy, beef or wood for example? If so, chances are very good that they are originating in the rainforest and are being produced illegally in violation of local conservation laws.

You can do you part for the environment by purchasing products that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) as being green and originating from sustainably managed forests. Ask the salespeople in your favorite stores if their products are certified? Ask where they came from. You may get a few blank stares at first, but eventually you’ll be making a difference. Store owners are going to realize more and more that sustainability is important to their customers. If they are to stay in business, they are going to have to Go Green.

And YOU can make it happen.

Recreate Grand Nature Environments With Rainforest Marble Mosaic Tiles

In shades of greens and browns that provide a classic feel, Rainforest marble recreates a rare ambiance. It seems as if nature has been brought within the interiors of the home. Would you like that dramatic closeness to nature rather than the lap of artificiality? A large variety of natural patterns does make them appear like foliage in the deep jungle along with the play of light and hues for a realistic effect, like some great painting. Finishes like crystallized, polished and tumbled complete the unique surrounding that seems to renew itself like the real jungle.

The Rainforest marble collection brings together the Indian origin Cafe forest Marble & Rainforest Marble. The warm shades of greens and browns, grays, and yellows along with natural veins do perfectly imitate a classic natural surrounding and create a refuge for you to soak in. The mosaics do indeed provide a lusty landscape that would do justice to apartment walls and business showrooms with their ability to recreate the quaint world of nature.

Designs work with contrasting effects! Imagine single colored walls with the brightly colored Rainforest marble mosaics next to them that instantly glitters to provide a fascinating beauty. Within a single wall too, such contrasting effects may be achieved like in an accent wall and particularly at grand entrances where company logos may be exhibited. Wherever you need to capture public attention or emphasize a certain idea or philosophy, such mosaics provide a stunning impact.

Since costs matter so much while calculating budgets, it is hard to imagine that something so wonderful would be available at the cheapest prices. They merely cost between $6 and $9 per square foot, which means that there would be no problem in cladding walls and floors according to fancies. Rain Forest or Cafe Forest Tumbled Mosaic would uplift spirits all day long within the family or the work surrounding. The Rain Forest Border Tumbled too presents a graceful scenario of nature at its best.

The message communicated by nature is clear like through the television channels. Preserving nature would help human survival that often seems to be at stake. Rainforest marble mosaic tiles deliver the nature preservation message gracefully in a world of resounding beauty as if you can hear the sounds of nature amidst the greenery. Rain Forest Tumbled and Rain Forest Tumbled Subway are simpler, but gently reach home the nature message with infinite zest. Peace and harmony are what nature is all about and the sacred home values such a noble surrounding.