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New Foundation Launches To Provide Innovative Financing Solution For Rainforest Protection

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Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) has initiated the establishment of a new independent organisation, the Belantara Foundation, that will  create an innovative new direct funding platform to protect rainforests.  This new funding mechanism will channel both public and private sector finance direct to local communities and other actors implementing forest conservation projects.

The announcement coincided with the Global Landscape Forum in Paris which is taking place as part of the UN climate talks during COP21, to draw attention to the urgent need to protect the world’s remaining forests.

Belantara’s mission will be to provide a direct channel to protect and support Indonesian forests for the billions of dollars of financing for forest conservation that have been pledged worldwide. When its full remit is announced in 2016 the foundation will be able to receive funding from both the public and private sector, with governance standards, safeguards and a monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system that gives funders confidence their money is being put to good use.

The new platform builds on APP’s experience of working with government and non-government actors on landscape-wide conservation and restoration projects in Indonesia. It seeks to draw on the partnerships that APP have established with government funded programmes such as the landscape approach programme in South Sumatra province , with the aim of finding synergies with  programmes of this type and collaborating with these actors in landscapes across Indonesia.

The foundation will have a clear governance structure and arm’s length agreement with APP, who will be guaranteeing a long-term grant to fund its initial activities.  The new foundation will provide both a coordination and supervisory function for different actors in the landscape and achieve its objectives by allocating funds to NGOs, local communities and other organisations involved in delivering projects. All activities will have the ultimate aim of protecting and restoring Indonesian rainforests.

“Billions of dollars have been pledged around the globe for forest conservation, but too little of it has made a real impact on the ground. We want to use our leverage and reach as the largest private concession holder in Indonesia to create a platform that will be independent and accountable but which will also provide an effective means of channelling some of this funding to real projects that make a difference in protecting and restoring Indonesia’s rainforests. We will start by investing our own funds in the platform but hope that in a short time others will follow,” said Aida Greenbury (pictured), Managing Director of Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement at APP.

Belantara along with the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Yapeka, APP and other partners, has produced a landscape conservation master plan to act as a guide for all partner groups implementing projects. With the input of key stakeholders, the foundation has identified ten priority landscapes, where APP and its suppliers have commercial forestry based operations and are among the most ecologically valuable, yet simultaneously threatened in Indonesia. These will form the initial focus of the foundation’s work to support the protection and restoration of local ecosystems while advancing sustainable development within communities. These landscapes are a mix of ecosystems dominated by wetlands, including mangrove forests, peat swamp forests, and freshwater swamp forests, together with lowland rainforests and heath forests.

The Foundation is uniquely placed to be able to work with a diverse group of stakeholders and stimulate collaboration and coordination amongst all parties engaged in conservation projects in the ten landscapes identified across Sumatra and Kalimantan. The Foundation will also allocate funding to initiatives that share similar landscape scale conservation objectives.  These plans will be unveiled in more detail in early 2016.

This new commitment is in addition to APP’s existing pledge to support the protection and restoration  of 1 million hectares of forest landscapes and to channel and coordinate USD $10 million a year of in-kind and financial support into forest conservation across Indonesia, announced in 2014. Earlier this week at the Indonesian Pavilion at COP21, APP also announced a community based agro-forestry programme for 500 communities in Indonesia.

Environment

Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness

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Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.

While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.

One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move

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Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.

6 Tips for a Greener Move

Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.

1. Maximize Each Trip

When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.

If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.

2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep

The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.

3. Reuse Moving Boxes

Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.

4. Get Creative With Packing

Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.

5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies

Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.

6. Forward Your Mail ASAP

Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.

Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful

Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.

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