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Streaming Video: Katoomba and the Economics of Rainforest Preservation

Katoomba Meetings have sparked scores of environmental initiatives – from the World Bank’s Prototype Carbon Fund to this web site to the "Cuiaba Declaration". But how exactly do Katoomba Meetings generate such initiatives? Largely through careful cross-pollination: they simply bring together disparate people unified by a common belief in the value of nature.

Katoomba Meetings have sparked scores of environmental initiatives – from the World Bank’s Prototype Carbon Fund to this web site to the “Cuiaba Declaration“. But how exactly do Katoomba Meetings generate such initiatives? Largely through careful cross-pollination: they simply bring together disparate people unified by a common belief in the value of nature.

7 July 2009 |
If there’s any place on the planet that needs to understand the relative advantages of earning money by destroying the rainforest and by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), it’s the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, where soybean production has turned the state’s capital, Cuiaba, into a boom town – and contributed to deforestation on a grand scale.

State and federal governments have implemented laws to reduce deforestation, which accounts for 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions, and at times the rate of destruction has even slowed. The trend, however, is up; and it’s destined to remain so as long as tropical rainforests are worth more dead than alive. That’s why Forest Trends (the non-governmental organization that publishes Ecosystem Marketplace) chose to host the most recent Katoomba Meeting in Cuiaba.

These meetings usually take place twice a year, and the goal is to stimulate the development of solutions by bringing together a diverse range of scientists, policy-makers, businessmen, environmental activists, and local citizens who share one common belief: namely, that our economy has contributed to environmental degradation by failing to incorporate the value of environmental services such as the cleansing of air, the regulation of water, and the stabilizing of atmosphere into the price of agriculture, energy, and other goods derived from nature.

We produced this 15-minute documentary of the Cuiaba meeting, and showed it at the Forest Trends 10th Anniversary Celebration.



Steve Zwick is Managing Editor of Ecosystem Marketplace. He can be reached at SZwick@ecosystemmarketplace.com.

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