But how are we about pushing your religion? Is that okay? Paul Cox, in addition to making the connexions between a tree and its curative properties [which hasn't gotten him a Nobel . . . yet] was also shilling for the Church of Latter Day Saints. "For two years beginning at age 19, I served as a volunteer missionary to the islands of Samoa. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to explain our faith to any who cared to listen, and to engage in humanitarian efforts." Did he stop explaining his faith when collecting his ethnobotanical data? Does it make the tiniest bit of a difference in Seacology's allocation of funds if the recipients are converts? Is it correct for me to push agnosticism? Should religious organisations be privileged with tax-free status? Should they be exempt from criticism?
Who else is doing good for the tropics with First World cash? WeForest is. This tree-planting charity was founded by a palomino called Bill Liao, and they insisted that their mission statement Making Earth Cooler is readily understandable by folks who don' spik Ingles ver' good. Name familiar? Bill is the cofounder of CoderDojo [prev, and prevlier] which is empowering kids to drive computers rather than sit in front of them with their gobs open.
Willie Smits gave an impassioned early TED talk about his work creating a sanctuary for orang-utans Pongo pygmaeus in at Samboja Lestari, Kalimantan on the island of Borneo. It is a great example of a TED talk: the Samboja Project saves primates by saving their habitat, and this Good Thing generates all sorts of positive unintended consequences. These include:
- reversal of local carbon emissions
- through reforestation
- through preventing forest and subterranean fires
- beneficial changes in rainfall patterns
- increased biodiversity
- ecological complexity
- filtered water
- farmable plots interspersed with the Orang habitat
- fuel ethanol from sugar palms Arenga saccharifera
- 3000 new jobs locally