Recently Heidi and I had the great pleasure of visiting Madagascar. It was a research trip to find out more about the unique biodiversity of this island and the incredible environmental destruction that has put its endemic species of animals and plants at risk of extinction. We were invited to spend one and a half weeks with Eden Reforestation Projects whom we have involved with to see and experience the incredible work that they are doing with a remote fishing community on the west coast of the island and also their new dry deciduous forest trial zone. On the second week and a half we spent touring the east of the island and visiting some of the remaining truly incredible primary rainforests and seeing and hearing the call of the Indri, the largest lemur in Madagascar, echo through the rainforest valleys.
Biodiversity & Environmental Destruction
Traveling through Madagascar we witnessed such environmental destruction that it was heart-breaking. In fact, it was incredible to believe as we flew in helicopters and light aircraft and drove for many hours to see bare earth and eroded hills devoid of forest. It was hard to believe that all these areas had once been covered in verdant forests. Forests are the lungs of the earth providing clean fresh water and renewable resources if they are carefully managed and are home to such great biodiversity. In fact, forests are more valuable left intact than cut down, for they contain a wealth of animals and plants, many still unknown to science, which have given us many of the drugs we use today.
90% of the Madagascar’s forests have disappeared as a result of slash and burn farming, burning to make charcoal and deforestation caused by timber extraction.
Art With Benefits
Art With Benefits is an organistion created by Tandem E. Studio with whom we have collaborated on design projects. In September, they held their inaugural art exhibition with Madagascar as the subject for the exhibition. Artists of all genres were invited to submit works with the theme of Madagascar for Madagascar 2013. They are using the power of creativity to make a difference in our world.
Creating A Greener Future
The exhibition raised almost $3,330 and and will plant over 33,300 trees and helping to alleviate severe poverty. We are incredibly grateful for the support of Kristy and Anita from Tandem E. Tandem Design Studio for supporting Eden Reforestation Projects and the phenomenal work they are doing in Madagascar to help the people, the wildlife and the environment.