A challenge that often comes with protecting the environment, especially in the third world, is preserving important natural resources while providing viable economic opportunities. A perfect example is the Amazon Basin of Ecuador. How do you protect this global treasure without threatening the livelihoods of the people who live there?
An interesting option is by promoting the cultivation of the cacao tree, which is the source of chocolate.
One important fact I did not know about the Cacao tree is that it is an understory crop that requires shade to thrive. Thus, it is in the interest of the people to grow it under the rainforest canopy. Chocolate, especially fair trade chocolate, can provide a decent living for families in this region.
Preserving rainforest ecosystems while providing people with viable economic options sounds very much like a win-win situation.
You can now help to preserve the rainforest while supporting the production of fair trade chocolate.
FUNEDESIN and Yachana Gourmet have teamed up to create an â€œadopt a Cacaoâ€ program. Hereâ€™s more information from the Yachana Gourmet website:
“FUNEDESIN recognized the importance of cacao several years ago and has been working to establish it as the principal income producer in Ecuador’s northern Amazon rainforest ever since. In 2000, the Foundation created Yachana Gourmet , a green company designed to purchase cacao at Fair Trade prices and produce a unique chocolate product, known as Yachana Jungle Chocolate.
As long as the region’s people can earn a living by cultivating cacao they will not have to turn to logging and cattle ranching, the two biggest threats to the remaining rainforest.
When you Adopt a Chocolate Tree, you receive:
â€¢ A Certificate of Adoption. This certificate acknowledges your important contribution to the future of Ecuadorâ€™s rainforest and the wellbeing of its people. The certificate is suitable for framing.
â€¢ Yachana Jungle Chocolate. Along with your Certificate of Adoption, we send you two bags of our delicious Fair Trade Yachana Jungle Chocolate.
â€¢ Discounted Jungle Tours. Participants in the Adopt a Chocolate Tree program receive a 10% discount off of the regular price of Yachana Lodge tours during the one year term of the adoption.
In addition to receiving these great gifts, you can rest a little easier knowing that you’ve helped the impoverished inhabitants of Ecuador’s rainforest and done your part to protect the Earth’s biological heritage. Your adoption supports FUNEDESIN’s community-based Biodiversity Fund. Indigenous and colonist communities own the tropical forest around FUNEDESIN’s Protected Rainforest. Women’s committees in each of these villages manage a Biodiversity Fund that directly protects thousands of acres of tropical rainforest. “