African RainForest Conservancy Held Their 25th Annual Artists For Africa Benefit
Editor in chief: Najaam Lee
Contributing Location Writer: Mitchell Acks
Photo Credit: NLee/GOSH!About
I was super excited to attend this amazing event, the 25th Annual Artists For Africa Benefit by African Rainforest Conservancy (ARC), on April 20th at the Tribeca Rooftop in New York City. Upon entering, the staff was wonderful, professional giving great service. The food with choices of meat or vegetarian dishes. My team and I sat at table 16 with a nice view from the rooftop and the event all together. I was served white chardonnay which was splendid.
I had a chance to meet Namasha Schelling, the Executive Director of African Rainforest Conservancy, a wonderful person who put this event together beautifully.
The benefit opened with a video presentation about the ARC in Tanzania, Africa. This informational piece showed the destruction and devastation happening to the rainforest and the communities that rely on the source of the rainforest.
After the presentation, several awards were given. The ARC honoured a great woman, a force of nature, Hadeel Ibrahim, the founding executive director of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation with the New Species Award for their support of good governance in Africa. She is also the co-chair of the Africa Center in New York, and is director on a number of other organizations working to better human rights and development in Africa and globally. I had the pleasure of meeting her and her positive energy is captivating.
Also being honoured that evening was artist, spoken-word poet, rapper and activist Prince Ea, whose video piece “Dear Future Generations: Sorry” on YouTube went viral April 2015 with over 2.8 Million views. It was a great pleasure meeting him and I asked him what is something anyone can do right now to make a change to help the rainforests around the world, he said ” … The best thing you can do is to consciously start…”. The audience was vividly moved by his performance.
The ARC’s goal to raise $250,000 that night, and a Live and Silent Auction was held. They have raised over $1 million over the last 24 years for community development and conservation in East African rainforests.
It is important to know that only 30% of the ancient trees in the coastal and mountain rainforests of Tanzania remain standing due to clearing from farming and logging. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, the primary gas causing climate change, and release oxygen. Tropical forests are like big sponges, if cleared, there are less trees to soak up the carbon dioxide. Burning and clear-cutting forests only accelerates the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Health effects of carbon dioxide can cause the following:
Inhalation: High concentrations can affect respiratory function and cause excitation followed by depression of the central nervous system. A high concentration can displace oxygen in the air. If less oxygen is available to breathe, symptoms such as rapid breathing, rapid heart rate, clumsiness, emotional upsets and fatigue can result. As less oxygen becomes available, nausea and vomiting, collapse, convulsions, coma and death can occur. Symptoms occur more quickly with physical effort. Lack of oxygen can cause permanent damage to organs including the brain and heart.
Skin Contact: Not irritating. Direct contact with the liquefied gas can chill or freeze the skin (frostbite). Symptoms of mild frostbite include numbness, prickling and itching. Symptoms of more severe frostbite include a burning sensation and stiffness. The skin may become waxy white or yellow. Blistering, tissue death and infection may develop in severe cases.
Bottomline, without trees we lose the very home we are living in. We lose everything.
ABOUT AFRICAN RAINFOREST CONSERVANCY
The ARC, a 501(c)(3) organization, provides the resources that helps conserves and restores African rainforests by empowering local men, women, and children through training, community development, research and education to preserve their natural heritage. They are a member of Aid of Africa.
The Conservancy provides various resources and ways to add trees and conserve the consumption of trees. They have partnered with TFCG to plant over 15 million trees. With their help approximately 5,000 households have switched to high-efficiency stoves through the ARC-TFCG partnership; these stoves reduce household wood consumption by up to 50% when compared to the traditional three-stone stove that is common in Tanzania. Their partnership with TFCG, provides over 200 primary and secondary schools with environmental education as part of their core curriculum. They help introduce of alternative sources of income, including fishponds and butterfly farms that discourages dependence on livelihood practices that threaten the future of the forests, such as illegal logging, charcoal production, and forest conversion to agricultural land.
More about the African Rainforest Conservancy and their resources can be found at their website: http://africanrainforest.org.
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