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Success of the Children's Eternal Rainforest (or El Bosque Eterno de los Ninos)

By Nick St Clair - 14 Mar 2011 9:31:2 GMT
The school children that saved a rainforest

''If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.''- The Dalai Lama

It was just over a year ago the Copenhagen climate talks opened to fervent hopes that the world would finally come together and address the planet's most pressing environmental problems. After a great deal of posturing and rhetoric, it sadly failed to deliver even a fraction of its promises.

Our collective shame is deepened, when you see small groups of people taking direct action, sometimes with astonishing and long lasting results. None more so than the example of the Swedish school children who were so moved by the plight of an endangered rain forest, that without further debate they made the decision to save it.

This small group of children cut through the arguments, ignored any negativity and instead reached directly into their (and their parents' pockets) in order to raise the money necessary to keep the loggers at bay and preserve the forest.

What started out as a classroom exercise in a small town in Sweden, quickly gathered momentum, spreading to the United Statesand across the world until it grew to become the Children's Rainforest Movement.

One example of its success is the internationally acclaimed Children's Eternal Rainforest (or El Bosque Eterno de los Ninos as it's known locally), located in north-western Costa Rica.

As well as preventing any further deforestation, land that had been cleared for agriculture has been left to nature and is slowly being reclaimed by the forest. The result is the largest private reserve in the whole of Costa Rica, amounting to a staggering 22,500 hectares (55,000 acres) of protected primary and secondary tropical rainforest.

The headquarters of the Children's Eternal Rainforest is now located in Monteverde, with the entire rain forest firmly placed in the capable hands of the Monteverde Conservation League. This local, non-profit organization was founded by an equally small, yet equally dedicated number of local residents who wanted to continue and build on the work of the schoolchildren.

To see the fruits of their collective labours for yourself, will require an adventurous spirit, copious quantities of jungle strength insect repellent and most importantly a machete-wielding guide to help you find your way out again. This is because it is largely inaccessible owing to the childrens' wishes that the forest be left as untouched as possible in order that it provides a sanctuary for the millions of plants, insects, birds and animals that once again live there.

No-one knows if this rainforest will survive for eternity, but at the very least it shows what can be achieved with minimal resources combined with a single minded desire to really make a difference.